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The Blackout Review

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In a cloud of cocaine, movie star Modine scares away his girlfriend. When he's sobered up a bit he thinks he may be involved in a dark plot involving a missing waitress and one of his dodgy night club owner/porn director mate Micky's flicks.

★★★★

The problem with Abel Ferrara being "one of the most idiosyncratic film directors of our time" (as the publicity materials state) is that while sometimes he turns out gems like King Of New York and The Funeral occasionally he disgorges pseudo-intellectual crud like Dangerous Game. Or this.

Modine is a big-time movie star with a saucy girlfriend (Dalle) and an impressive booze 'n' pills habit which, after a marathon binge, results in him threatening to cut out her baby himself if she doesn't have an abortion. Which is hardly genteel behaviour and results in her departure, operatic demonstrations of remorse and a trip to mad film director and club owner Micky's (Hopper) place and even more furious indulgence in the Peruvian pandemonium powder plus the titular blank patch in his memory. After drying out, the combination of flashbacks and trips to the head shrinker gives him the impression that there might be unpleasant secrets to recall, seemingly intimately tied to a missing waitress and one of Micky's sadistic video flicks.

If this sounds overwrought, implausible and baffling on the page, it is immeasurably more so on the screen. Ferrara seems to have pretty much done without a script (his usual collaborator Nicholas St. John is tellingly not involved) and instead relied on swathes of tedious improvisation mostly attempted by the dramatically impoverished. Modine appears not to have the faintest clue where he is or what's going on; Hopper blusters through delivering his usual frantic Hopperisms and managing to out-manic his infamous Apocalypse Now "you can't go to the moon with fractions" speech; while Ferrara drenches the whole thing with sub-soft core porn/rock promo style. Imbecilic piffle.

Imbecilic piffle.