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Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Panic in Needle Park

Posted on Thu, May 3, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The Panic in Needle Park
Studio: 20th Century Fox
WorkNameSort: Panic in Needle Park, The
There are scenes of drug injection in 1971's Panic in Needle Park that rival Bad Lieutenant and Fearless Freaks in their raw explicitness, and needlephobes won't be the only people who choose to look away. It isn't a crime to do so, either, because you probably won't be missing much. Cataloging the downward plunge into smack addiction and hooker-dom of Al Pacino and Kitty Winn on the streets of New York, the movie is anchored by an uncomfortable verisimilitude, realistic almost to a fault. The story is compelling for a while but follows a very predictable addict's spiral, only slightly less histrionic than the inferior Candy, released last year. Director Jerry Schatzberg keeps everything at a slow-burn torpor, directing as if on heroin himself. It's appropriately lethargic, making this last exit to Brooklyn even more unremittingly bleak. At least it's an effective 'Just Say Noâ?� film.

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