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The Last Time I Committed Suicide Review

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1950s Beat Poet Cassidy is pulled between the lust for two women; Mary (Gretchen Mol), a teen temptress and Joan (Forlani), his first true love whom he had left previously thinking that she was dying and unable to bear the pain. While pondering which of the women will make him happy, he shoots pool with drunken friend Harry (Reeves) who assures him of his limitless genius in return for brewskis.

★★★★

Your take on Stephen Kay's microbudget debut will really depend on your take on the beat (from the word "beatific" or saintly) poets of the 1950s. To a generation, they were the lifestyle warriors, intense young men with passions for words, women and wine. To a generation's parents, they were good for nothing layabouts who should pull their socks up, wash their hair and get a proper job.

There's no doubt on which side of the debate Kay falls. His likeable film is a paean to the beats and particularly to its subject, Neal Cassidy (Jane) who was the prototype for Jack Kerouac's Dean Moriarty in his classic novel On The Road and who wound up driving the bus immortalised by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Cool Aid Acid Test.

The Last Time I Committed Suicide follows the meandering life of Cassidy as he is pulled between the lust for two women; Mary (Gretchen Mol), a teen temptress with disapproving parents and Joan (Forlani), his first true love whom he had left previously thinking that she was dying and unable to bear the pain. While pondering which of the women will make him happy, he shoots pool with drunken friend Harry (Reeves) who assures him of his limitless genius in return for brewskis.

Although director Kay's debut may be a little heavy on the Oliver Stone-isms, - lots of rapid cuts, reversal stock and shaky cam all very much in evidence - he perfectly captures the strange blend of intense, lyrical creativity and militant laid-backness that characterised a generation's writers. Jane is an outstanding lead as the almost supernaturally beautiful Cassidy while Reeves gives the nearest thing to a performance in his career as the enthusiastic feckless drunk.

Kay perfectly captures the strange blend of intense, lyrical creativity and militant laid-backness that characterised a generation's writers with the aid of top-of-game performances from Cassidy and Reeves.