Drunks

Drunks was a big critics' favorite at last year's Sundance Film Festival but, despite the accolades it received, it was unable to find a distributor, and eventually ended up making its debut on cable. Watching it on home video, it's easy to see why: While Drunks is a solid, occasionally moving film, it is also relentlessly stagy and depressing. Drunks is the story of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, during which depressed widower Richard Lewis leaves the group and goes on a bender. Aside from the scenes of Lewis falling off the wagon, the film is essentially a series of monologues about alcoholism. Some are good, some are bad, but after about an hour of similar monologues filmed in medium close-up, it all gets a bit tedious. There are a number of fine performances, notably the late Howard Rollins' turn as a grief-stricken blue-collar drunk who killed his daughter in a car accident. But for the most part, the actors are never really given time to develop their characters. The one exception is Lewis, who gives a surprisingly powerful performance in an extremely challenging role. But while Drunks never manages a wholly successful transition from stage to film, its perceptive, refreshingly unsentimental script and wealth of excellent performances help compensate.

More DVD Review