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.