Less Than Zero
See Brad Pitt before they were famous!
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Clay (McCarthy) is an 18 year-old freshman returning to L.A. for Christmas after the first term at college in New Hampshire. He is disillusioned with the lifestyle and the disjointed, but wealthy, family that he has tried to put behind him.
His one-time love, Blair (Gertz), is tenuously involved with Julian (Downey Jnr), Clay's ex-best-friend. Blair is concerned that Julian is in peril, with a cocaine addiction and huge debts to the volatile and sadistic drug-dealing pimp, Rip.
The unfolding series of events leads Clay to a Beverly Hills beyond the veneer of perfection of the upwardly mobile. Where he witnesses the drug-fuelled malaise leading so many of his old friends into a life of perversion, violence and a bloody conclusion.
This film points an unforgiving finger at the excesses of the 80's and takes us into the underbelly of a life that so many wished they could lead and so many wished they could forget.
The movie's three central performances are near-flawless…
Gertz, as the panicked young woman watching the disintegration of her friend as she deals with demons of her own; McCarthy, as the reserved, almost cold witness now outside this group, ready to leave it behind and especially by Downey Jr. whose acting here is so real, so subtle and so observant that it's scary.
The whole movie looks as brilliantly superficial as any music video and so Downey Jr's predicament is all the more poignant (even more so when one considers Downey’s real-life drug problems).
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