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Clean and Sober Review

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Daryl Poynter (Keaton) is a hot shot of a real estate agent who keeps himself pepped up with cocaine and alcohol. Checking into a clinic to do nothing more than lay low, Poynter is forced by ex-junkie Craig (Freeman) to revaluate his life.

★★★★

This low-key melodrama from the creator of Moonlighting is a compelling tale of drug addiction and recovery in industrial north-west America. While occasionally lapsing into sentimental triumphalism, for the most part Caron points his camera at human compulsion with a compassionate gaze and is superbly served throughout by Michael Keaton's crazed Daryl Pointer, a real estate salesman hooked on coke.

If Batman barely gave Keaton a chance to shine, his tour de force here has the kind of electric energy that he brought to Beetlejuice, albeit in more conventional surroundings as he man­ages to suggest the loneliness and empti­ness that fuel his addictive personality. Marvellous support is provided both by Kathy Baker's bruised addict Charlie and Morgan Freeman's understated performance as a counsellor. The plot is often contrived, the ending uncertain and Keaton's charismatic performance gives the devil more good tunes than Caron may originally have intended but Clean and Sober remains a searing human story to be cherished.

A drama which retains a dangerous edge all the way through. The cast impressively prevails over the contrived plot.