Hairkutt

"Very Good"

Hairkutt Review


Drug abuse is rarely seen from the viewpoint of the actual addict. Even in cases where the narrative tries to sympathize and humanize the junkie, there is always a smugly judgmental approach to the topic. In our jaded, "Just Say No" mindset, people hindered by their need for dope deserve ridicule, not rehabilitation. Even worse, supposed friends end up hypocritical arbiters, using their own sense of right and wrong to dictate the ethics of those afflicted. Perhaps this is why Curtis Elliot and Ben Scholle's remarkable documentary Hairkutt feels so fresh. Instead of looking down at its suffering subject, it brings real insight into the problem of kicking one's habit.

For Brynat "Hairkutt" Johnson, life in his hometown of St. Louis has been incredibly hard. For nearly 15 years, he's been on and off of heroin, snorting sometimes more than $200 of dope a day. He wants to get clean, but can't find the motivation to do so. Then when he learns that the mother of his eldest daughter has died, he decides to straighten up. Best friends Elliot, Maurice "Reese" Bradley, and Anthony "Lark" Dorsey come up with a plan: they will rent a cabin in Tennessee, take Hairkutt to the remote locale, fix up the place with plastic tarp, and then videotape him as he goes cold turkey. The reason for the camera is simple -- maybe if he sees the torment he goes through during the week-long ordeal, he'll never touch drugs again.

If a film was judged solely on nobility of intentions and/or power in the presentation, Hairkutt would be an undeniable masterpiece. The very idea that three buddies would step up and aid another in one of the most difficult situations anyone could face draws us in, and the cinema vérité style keeps us glued to the unfolding story. We learn that Hairkutt is not some kind of irredeemable reprobate. Instead, he's a soft-spoken man with a kind heart and a body broken by opiates. In their all or nothing approach, Elliot and Scholle cover everything -- before they leave for Tennessee, we witness Hairkutt snorting his last fix. He does so in a matter of fact, "this is my life" kind of manner that suggests seven days dry will hardly be enough. Like breathing, or sleeping, heroin is a part of Hairkutt.

This becomes abundantly clear during the movie's second act. As part of this painful-to-watch footage, withdrawal is shown in its true, non-sensationalized reality. Hairkutt, constantly vomiting and unable to hold down any kind of nourishment, pleads with his pals. He begs to be put out of his misery, his slight frame rejecting every attempt to purge the poison from it. It's hard to determine what's worse: the physical agony or the overriding feeling of loneliness. No matter how much support Elliot, Bradley, and Dorsey provide, no matter how many home remedies or Internet suggestions they follow, Hairkutt is stuck doing this alone, and he knows it.

There are a lot of positive messages that can be taken from this material, the most obvious being that drugs will destroy you. But Hairkutt delivers the most devastating missive when he explains the single biggest barrier to breaking his addiction. "The heroin's in here," he says, pointing to his head. "It may be gone from here (finger to chest), but it's still solid in here." It's a devastating statement, one that foreshadows the ultimate result of everyone's efforts. Yet Hairkutt is far from hopeless. Instead, it paints an authentic picture of life as a drug addict. And in a realm where politics purposely cloud the issue, a little stark reality is a welcome relief.

Aka HairKuTT.



Hairkutt

Facts and Figures

Run time: 17 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 10th April 2007

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Curtis Elliot, Ben Scholle

Producer: Curtis Elliot, Ben Scholle

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.