Dusty and Sweets McGee (1971)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Addiction Drama, Docudrama  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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This singular blend of fiction and verite is one of the most unique portraits of drug addiction ever captured on celluloid. Dusty & Sweets McGee does its all to bring the viewer deep inside the ennui and soul-numbing repetition of an addict's daily existence. As a result, the film foregoes much of the niceties involved in narrative filmmaking: plotting is replaced with an episodic drift of incidents, the pacing is allowed to erratically ebb and flow in a way that matches the mood of its characters and the film never inserts any moralizing or other elements to manipulate the viewer's sympathies. As a result, Dusty & Sweets McGee is demanding viewing and definitely not for all tastes. That said, adventurous viewers will want to check it out because of its authenticity: the real addicts used to play the film's characters deliver convincing, lived-in performances and the scenes where they open up about the intricacies of an addict's life are often gut-wrenching stuff. Director Floyd Mutrux infuses the proceedings with a moody, intense style, using William Fraker's excellent cinematography to create bold visuals that capture the eye without ever glamorizing what is shown. Mutrux also makes excellent use of music, using songs to comment on the action and also deftly manipulating the editing of music and source sounds to enhance the mood: a great example of the latter element is the opening sequence, where several songs and radio announcements are deftly edited and mixed together to underscore an impressionistic montage of street scenes. In short, Dusty & Sweets McGee isn't an easy film but it's definitely rewarding for the viewers who are up for its challenges. It is highly recommended to anyone who wants to see a genuine portrait of 1970's drug culture.