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Short reviews of films showing at the D.C. Independent Film Festival, which runs March 7-10.
Jane Clark’s feature film debut, Meth Head, is about—you guessed it—a meth head. It tells the story of how the titular character (Luke Haas) got started on the stuff, and what an oh-so-irritatingly silly and emotionally manipulative story it is.
Haas plays the seemingly content (but deeply unhappy) Kyle—a budding but underappreciated interior designer who’s engaged to the man he loves and lives a posh L.A. lifestyle. When Kyle and his partner Julian are out at a swanky party, a gawkish photographer invites them to the bathroom to “party”—-aka snort lines of meth, because that’s what you do in L.A., apparently. In nearly no time at all, Kyle develops a serious habit and loses his job, and Julian kicks him out of the house. He befriends two well-meaning tweakers and thus begins his downward spiral.
The problem with Meth Head is that it lazily tacks on emotional heft in a way that’s exploitative: His addiction goes from zero to 60 in about five minutes, and it’s chalked up to daddy issues. Too quickly, Kyle resorts to prostitution and other depraved means to feed his addiction. Despite the fact that it’s “inspired by true stories,” this particular story of a middle-class, well-off thirtysomething succumbing to a meth addiction so rapidly and destructively is a hard sell, and Clarke doesn’t even come close to convincing us.
The film shows at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Naval Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $15.