The Panic in Needle Park

The Panic in Needle Park ★★★★

This one hit me a lot harder than expected, not because it's something that's too relateable but just because of how honestly hopeless it is. The Panic in Needle Park is a film about two people who slowly spiral deeper and deeper into their heroin addiction, and as they get worse and worse they start turning towards sadder and sadder methods to support themselves. All the while they still love each other and try to make the best of their situation.

Bobby and Helen are these two people, who have families that care for them, law officers who let them off easy, and doctors who take pity on them. They seem to get every chance they need to finally quit and get their lives back on track (and they even announce this every so often), but they can't and are dragged back in once they need another hit. It's really appreciated that neither the drug-users nor the drug-dealers are ever depicted as evil but rather sympathetic and would like to stop at any point but aren't able to do so on their own (we know they've tried).

"You've been through some changes since I saw you. Now you wanna wipe all that out. You could, if you wanted to."

Uh... yeah, it's just a lot and I think your "enjoyment" of the film will rely heavily on how much you appreciate seeing the slow disintegration of a person's life on camera. Gritty 70's / 80's films set in NYC are not normally the type of movie I enjoy this much, but the subject matter was able to cut across those preferences and make me care for the characters within. There's no music scoring the film and there's no cheap attempts at milking every opportunity of "depression porn," and because of that it's somehow even more tragic.

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