Set in the early '70s, the film focuses on befuddled junkie Fuck Head and, for the main part, his relationship with addict Michelle - which mostly comprises them yelling at each other, throwing things, declaring their love and shooting up while wearing all of those hideous nylon fashions.
Alison Maclean, who made her directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed drama Crush, returns to the big screen after an eight-year absence with this adaptation of a collection of short stories from Denis Johnson.
While their relationship is the film's core, writers Cuthrell, Urrutia and Moverman also briefly introduce other characters from poet/author Johnson's short story collection, who pop up for a short time before disappearing from the screen. These scenes are somewhat disjointed, which can be a bit disconcerting if you're expecting a logically flowing plot, but they provide the film with a much-needed injection of humour.
Most notable is the superb Jack Black (High Fidelity), as a stoned hospital orderly who takes Fuck Head on a bizarre nocturnal trip, Denis Leary as a drunk who gets Fuck Head to help him rip out the copper wiring of a house so they can sell it for booze money, and Dennis Hopper as a patient with a round scar on his cheek, from when one of his wives shot him in the face.
Both tragic and comic, this uneven, meandering film works perhaps better than it should have, thanks to the bittersweet central performance from Crudup, whose narration is compelling even when it fails to explain why Fuck Head does some of the things he does.