Hubert Selby Jr. was a powerful and influential literary figure whose best-known novels, Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream, dealt with the dark underside of life in a way that was bleak and often shocking, but also laced with compassion and understanding for the tortured lives of his characters. Selby only completed the eighth grade when he became a merchant marine and contracted a severe case of tuberculosis from infected cattle. While Selby survived thanks to bootleg antibiotics, he lost a lung and had to give up his physically punishing work at sea. Selby took up writing and developed a unique style that helped make his first novel, 1964's Last Exit to Brooklyn, a critical success and a controversial best-seller. However, Selby developed a massive appetite for alcohol and drugs which derailed his career, and by the time he published his second book, 1971's The Room, Selby was all but forgotten. However, Selby's work developed a passionate following in Europe, and was rediscovered in the United States after a successful film adaptation of Last Exit to Brooklyn was released. Hubert Selby Jr.: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow is a documentary which explores the life and work of this unlikely literary icon, and features extensive interviews with Selby as well as his friends and admirers. Interview subjects include Lou Reed, Henry Rollins, Richard Price, Nick Tosches, Ellen Burstyn, Darren Aronofsky, Uli Edel, Amiri Baraka, and Jerry Stahl. Robert Downey Jr. serves as narrator.
by Mark Deming synopsis