For some it may be chocolate or other comfort foods such as mashed potatoes. Others choose alcohol. For Truman Korovin, an Alaskan cab driver seeking solace, he makes the unlikely choice of dropping acid. On the coldest night of the year, while picking up his girlfriend, Korovin learns that she no longer is in love with him. Alone and depressed, he consoles himself by eating some acid.Not known for its calming power, the acid turns on him. After consuming, he realizes he should not have taken the drug in his state of mind. Yet he proceeds with getting drunk. The music and footage forewarn the audience that it isn't going to be a good trip.
This begins the all-star cast of characters in "Chronic Town" that includes drug addicts, strippers, pedophiles and drunks.
Two themes emerge: escape, whether it be from loneliness, abuse or politics, and air.
Set in the middle of winter in Alaska, Korovin and his friends can't seem to get enough cold air. Sixty-below weather, Korovin believes, makes everything cozy and keeps the evil inside.
Starring J.R. Bourne as Korovin and Emily Wagner, who plays the stripper and soon-to-be girlfriend, Eleanor, "Chronic Town" is true to its title by involving alcohol, cigarettes and drugs in every scene amid the backdrop of a cold and dreary Alaskan snowy winter.
Humor and humanism color the film as well as realistic acting. Things go from bad to worse, but the film remains engaging, because of its raw emotions combined with skillful cinematography.
With the acid kicked in, Korovin slits his wrist and winds up strapped down to a hospital bed in an insane asylum. In order to get out of the restraints, he agrees to join group therapy. He blames everything on a bad acid trip and a girlfriend novelist who can't keep inventing that she's in love with him. Like a good businessman, Korovin makes the most from every interaction. From his group, he meets a stripper on whom he develops a crush.
In need of company and not fit for release, Korovin agrees, at the orders of his doctor, to visit a retirement home. Here he meets sharp and clever Elizabeth, played by Alice Drummond, and from her, he earns connections to her son, Brian, who grows his own marijuana. She passes her time by sewing words she places on her wall to build sentences. She sends him away with the word "return."
The day of his release from the insane asylum, Korovin has big ambitions: to party. He does more than his share of drinking and drugging.
All of the characters carry their own baggage, but do so without evoking a sense of pity. They admit they are all struggling with some addiction and dysfunction without playing the victim.
Korovin does make good on his word and returns to visit Elizabeth, and this time she presents him with a new word: "accept." This film seems to be sending the message that we should accept people like them, like us.
email@example.comKarin Becker is a writing instructor at Fort Lewis College.