The Panic in Needle Park

The Panic in Needle Park ★★★★★

Led by two emotionally-charged performances, a powerfully harrowing screenplay, and astutely stirring direction, The Panic in Needle Park is an unflinchingly engrossing examination of drug addiction and the dissolution of a loving relationship as a result. When it comes to depictions of drugs on-screen, very rarely do we get a film that truly presents how emotionally, physically, and psychologically damaging they can be on people's lives. Alot of movies shamefully glorify them, but with films like The Panic in Needle Park, we get a thoroughly uncompromising glimpse at how heroin addiction can be hauntingly destructive. The story revolves around a woman who moves to New York and falls in love with a local hustler and young drug addict. Their immeasurable romance soon spirals into a series of betrayals and hatred as the drug life begins to consume the both of them. Al Pacino and Kitty Winn are absolutely phenomenal as Bobby and Helen, with both of them delivering scenes that will make you cry and feel so sad. This isn't a light movie at all. It's heartbreaking. It's sad. It's depressing. You become so invested with these two human beings at the start. Their relationship begins very lovingly and beautiful but once they start using each other for drugs, it becomes increasingly hard to see nothing but ruin for their futures. The most refreshing thing about this movie is that it isn't your typical drug movie that constantly needs to have overly contrived dramatic sequences. Rather, the film slowly allows you to become apart of the world of these characters, it allows you to feel their souls, to feel their internal struggles, and it gradually builds into these specific moments that are painfully heartbreaking to watch. It's all a cycle. Once you get hooked onto heroin and whatnot, there's hardly a way back. The cinematography is impressively raw and suitably unsettling. Warning, there are several close-up shots of people shooting into their arms that's not for the easily squeamish. The film doesn't hold back from depicting this harsh reality. Overall, The Panic in Needle Park is a devastatingly moving film that you should put on your watchlist if you're familiar with its subject matter in some way.

My Rating: 10/10