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Less Than Zero (Widescreen) [Import]
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Returning home from college for Christmas vacation, Clay (Andrew McCarthy) is eager to resume his long-time romantic relationship with Blair (Jami Gertz) and his old friendship with the irresponsible Julian (Robert Downey, Jr.). But he finds the two have started a relationship of their own and developed a fondness for clubs, wild parties and endless amounts of cocaine. Clay's determination and love for Blair enables him to win her back, but Julian is a different story. Increasingly hopeless, addicted and deeply in debt to his dealer (James Spader), he puts Clay and Blair through the ultimate test of friendship, loyalty and love.
Dreary, pointless late-'80s novel by literary poseur Bret Easton Ellis focused on listless, shiftless, drug-sniffing, sex-swapping, dead-end California teens with too much money and time on their hands. Which just about sums up this movie, though it's not nearly as interesting as that. This is mostly due to the ridiculously cleaned-up script and lifeless direction, which whitewashes the baser depravity and replaces it with perversion-lite and fashion shows. It doesn't help that director Marek Kanievska is saddled with Brat Pack lesser (make that least) lights Andrew McCarthy and Jami Gertz. The only things that lift this film above the muck are the performances by James Spader as a particularly heinous drug dealer and Robert Downey Jr. as a rich-kid addict with no self-control. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
That said, Less Than Zero is probably the one film that epitomises the 80s like no other for me. The opening shots, with the Bangles brilliant cover of 'Hazy Shade...' clanging in the background, still invites chills.
Others have written the plot succintly, so I will say that if you want a cold, clinical, no exit look at being a rich, bored teen in LA, search no further. Blair (Jamie Gertz)is deliciously confused, drugged and flakey, and Clay, the solid rock in the middle of his friends' breakdowns is perfectly cast in a youthful Andrew McCarthy. Top honours go to Robert Downey Jnr, spookily playing out his own future as the drug addled Julian with frenetic highs and lows, insincere to himself and broken to his mates, and James Spader as the vile pimp and dealer Rip.
Wonderfully photographed by Edward Lachman, it's simultaneously lush and sparse. If the end scenes don't get you sobbing into a pillow, then take that stone out of your chest and get a heart. Less Than Zero has been unfairly mauled by many, but it stands up today as a film with much more going for it than you may think. For starters, it may be one of the only teen flicks that doesn't make you howl/cringe because of ropey dialogue and cheeseball disco moments. Its 'drugs message' is played out minus politics and simply invites you take a journey with the characters. Death, it seems to say, is inevitable for everyone, some just go a little faster.Read more ›
All told, I wanted to like this film, a lot. All of the pieces are there for a good movie: compelling story line, sympathetic characters, interesting twists. For some reason, however, I was left feeling like something was missing. I just wanted more and I didn't get it.
The movie is not a feel good movie or a preachy movie (although it tries to do so with its drug message), but it does have some great things going for it. The music was excellent, Robert Downey Jr. is very good, and some of the cinematography (especially the last few minutes of the film) was inspired.
Still, you can't overlook some of the problems. The acting is simply uneven. Andrew McCarthy looks as though he is interviewing for a stuffy banking position. The relationship between Julian and his father is never really played out. Rip's henchman looks like a California surfer with an attitude problem, not a bouncer type that is out to do no good. The movie all but says that if you are 18, white, and live in Beverly Hills, your main entertainment venue is snorting cocaine.
For me, this film was truly a love/hate relationship. I simply wanted more to love and less to hate.
I read the back of the DVD before buying it, and said to my friend that I had a feeling i was going to be disappointed (because it just read like it was a crappy adaption) but i couldnt have been more wrong.
I can't express myself more when I say that humans versus drugs is a losing battle for us. And this movie backs me up greatly.
Just by watching Julian (Downey Jr.) slowly fall into one of his binges is enough to make tears come to your eyes. To watch his friends try and help, and to see they are in a lost cause hurts just as much.
The acting in this movie is awesome. The cast is some of the best teen actors from the middle 80's, and the director hit his mark perfectly. I would think that Ellis' (Less than Zero author) is very proud.
Rather than focusing in on the worthless lives of the young and rich in L.A. as Ellis did in the novel, this flick really just pics three characters from the book and focuses more into their lives over Christmas vacation and what they are doing to themselves.
This movie is incredible. If you enjoy movies like "Requiem for a Dream", and "The Rules of Attraction" (another Ellis adaption), you will love this flick. Don't miss this, if anything, let it be a message to yourself or your teenage children. Heroin is NOT the only drug that kills.
Most recent customer reviews
already submitted a review but glad i go the movie. it was early as usualPublished 1 month ago by john payton
Fast delivery. Good price. Good movie. Give-you a check on reality...Published 4 months ago by Chantale Quesnel
one of the first movies I saw RDJ in. He has been my fave ever sincePublished 10 months ago by Karen Broster
Love this movie! James Spade is great in it! Robert Downey is so convincing as a drug addict!Published 14 months ago by rufas
I love this movie, was glad to find it and the price was awesome. Love Robert Downey Jr, one of his great films!Published on April 10 2014 by Crystal D Iwanyk
Two words apply to this movie: Robert Downey. He gives an incredible performance as Julian a drug addicted pal of two old high school friends. Read morePublished on June 27 2004 by Joe Clay
I read the book 1st then saw the movie and they were totally different. Really only the character's names were the same. Read morePublished on June 11 2004
Bret Easton Ellis' contemporary classic about the spiritual lacking of LA youth is transformed into the biggest "Just Say No" public service announcement. Read morePublished on May 23 2004 by Travis Mamone
What made Bret Easton Ellis's "Less Than Zero" an interesting, if less than compelling, read, was its portrayal of the anomie and emptiness of the Brat Pack of southern... Read morePublished on April 25 2004 by JLind555