Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Cook County

Strictly recommended for those dying to watch crystal meth addicts being, well, crystal meth addicts, with every attendant horror. Anyone?

Dec 19, 2011

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1299448-Cook_Country_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The world of crystal meth addiction is copiously explored in writer-director David Pomes’ debut feature Cook County. East Texas teenager Abe (Ryan Donowho) is stuck in a squalid house with his addicted, meth-dealing Uncle Bump (Anson Mount), his permanently fried grandfather (Tommy Townsend), and Bump’s uncared-for little daughter Deandra (Mekenna Fitzsimmons), wandering among the drug paraphernalia and raggedy users which litter the place.

Abe is desperately trying to stay clean himself, while doing his best to protect Deandra from this living hell, in the face of Bump’s increasingly crazed hostility. Abe’s father Sonny (Xander Berkely), recently released from jail and also trying to stay off the pipe, comes home to mend fences with his son, but his presence only adds to the explosive tension.

Cook County is a cautionary tale of the most hardcore stripe, but you have to wonder who’s really going to want to see it. If you’ve ever spent time with meth addicts, you know it’s a horrid, far world from the traditional romanticism of, say, opium use, glorified by the likes of Cocteau and the exquisite Julie Christie in Robert Altman’s masterpiece, McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Here, the characters behave like even more manic updates of those cornpone clods in John Ford’s Tobacco Road, with the difference being that those folk didn’t even need drugs to act so gosh-blamed crazy. Pomes seems to delight in rubbing our faces in all this drug-fueled beastliness and, no, as things progress to an incendiary finish, it decidedly does not get better. Handheld camerawork emphasizes the jitteriness, but the incessantly hammering ugliness becomes monotonous.

Mount, looking like some kind of insane wilderness prophet, has a field day, plying Bump’s paranoia and violence, an exhausting performance. I much preferred Donowho’s quieter, earnest performance, as well as that of hard-working Berkeley, as they both bring a much-needed human element to this unrelentingly hideous saga.


Film Review: Cook County

Strictly recommended for those dying to watch crystal meth addicts being, well, crystal meth addicts, with every attendant horror. Anyone?

Dec 19, 2011

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1299448-Cook_Country_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The world of crystal meth addiction is copiously explored in writer-director David Pomes’ debut feature Cook County. East Texas teenager Abe (Ryan Donowho) is stuck in a squalid house with his addicted, meth-dealing Uncle Bump (Anson Mount), his permanently fried grandfather (Tommy Townsend), and Bump’s uncared-for little daughter Deandra (Mekenna Fitzsimmons), wandering among the drug paraphernalia and raggedy users which litter the place.

Abe is desperately trying to stay clean himself, while doing his best to protect Deandra from this living hell, in the face of Bump’s increasingly crazed hostility. Abe’s father Sonny (Xander Berkely), recently released from jail and also trying to stay off the pipe, comes home to mend fences with his son, but his presence only adds to the explosive tension.

Cook County is a cautionary tale of the most hardcore stripe, but you have to wonder who’s really going to want to see it. If you’ve ever spent time with meth addicts, you know it’s a horrid, far world from the traditional romanticism of, say, opium use, glorified by the likes of Cocteau and the exquisite Julie Christie in Robert Altman’s masterpiece, McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Here, the characters behave like even more manic updates of those cornpone clods in John Ford’s Tobacco Road, with the difference being that those folk didn’t even need drugs to act so gosh-blamed crazy. Pomes seems to delight in rubbing our faces in all this drug-fueled beastliness and, no, as things progress to an incendiary finish, it decidedly does not get better. Handheld camerawork emphasizes the jitteriness, but the incessantly hammering ugliness becomes monotonous.

Mount, looking like some kind of insane wilderness prophet, has a field day, plying Bump’s paranoia and violence, an exhausting performance. I much preferred Donowho’s quieter, earnest performance, as well as that of hard-working Berkeley, as they both bring a much-needed human element to this unrelentingly hideous saga.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Monk with a Camera
Film Review: Monk With a Camera: The Life and Journey of Nicholas Vreeland

Enthralling and uplifting documentary about a man of the world turned monk, but one who effects real, inspiring change. More »

The Circle
Film Review: The Circle

Very strong, historically intriguing and important gay document is marred by intrusive real-life interview footage, which seriously breaks up the dramatic momentum. More »

The King and the Mockingbird
Film Review: The King and the Mockingbird

A tyrant pursues a shepherdess across a magical landscape in an animated masterpiece by Paul Grimault. More »

Reach Me
Film Review: Reach Me

Self-help book draws an array of lost and lonely people together in a misguided message drama from writer-director John Herzfeld. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Hunger Games - Mockingjay Pt 1
Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Darker, less action-packed first half of the final installment of the popular franchise moves from arenas to rubble aplenty as Jennifer Lawrence’s super-heroine is called upon to serve her beleaguered and much-destroyed nation as propaganda instrument and leader. Fans of the books and previous two films get a less flashy palette here, but the engaging characters and strong story return to stir interest for the scheduled November 2015 finale. More »

Foxcatcher review
Film Review: Foxcatcher

Character is destiny in this masterfully controlled true-crime sports drama that will likely catapult Steve Carell into the Oscar race. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here