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The Basketball Diaries (1995)

Director:
Scott Kalvert
COUNTRY
USA
Genre
Biography/Drama
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Netter i New York
RUNNING TIME
100 minutes
Producer:
Liz Heller
John Bard Manulis
Screenwriter:
Bryan Goluboff


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Jim Carroll Leonardo DiCaprio
Swifty Bruno Kirby
Mickey Mark Wahlberg
Neutron Patrick McGaw
Pedro James Madio
Jim’s mother Lorraine Bracco
Reggie Ernie Hudson
Diane Moody Juliette Lewis
Skinhead Michael Rapaport

 

Review

Leonardo DiCaprio was able to fully exploit the range of his raw, bursting talent in this tantalizing portrait of Jim Carroll, a working-class New Yorker who devoted his teenage years to basketball and hard drugs (respectively) and who eventually was able to break his habit and make a career as a poet and artist based on his memoirs. Although the direction by first-timer Scott Kalvert is somewhat bland (there is more poise and complexity to DiCaprio's performance than to the film's presentation of the thematics and environment), the film still retains an attractive grittiness and an erotic edge which probably made The Basketball Diaries more appealing as an eye-catcher than an effective warning on drug use back at the time of release. One of the drawbacks is that the time frame chosen by the filmmakers is messy, to say the least. In one moment, we're brought back to Carroll's sixties, before we in the next are back in something resembling the nineties. Buried in this mess, is an account which, despite moments of real poignance, seems to tread one too many cliches along the way. Calvert may have thought he made a critical film about drug use, but his fascination for the way of life he portrays becomes somewhat too transparent.

 

Re-review: Copyright 6.2.2009 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: Copyright 13.5.1997 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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