An all-too-familiar portrait of the aimless existence of a desperate drug addict, "Cocaine Angel" manages to at least display an undeniable verisimilitude. Directed by Michael Tully and written by lead actor Damian Lahey, the film feels much longer than its brief 75 minutes. It recently received its U.S. theatrical premiere at New York's Pioneer Theater.
The film chronicles (though that might be too formal a description) a week or so in the life of Scott (Lahey), a divorced man in the full throes of drug and alcohol addiction. It offers a fly-on-the-wall perspective as it depicts him engaging in such activities as showing up for work in such a drugged-out state that his co-workers can barely believe it; spending time with his little girl, including shooting up in a public bathroom while she waits patiently for him outside; engaging in some not-so-successful sex with his equally misbegotten girlfriend (Kelly Forrester); hanging out with lowlife friends; and coping with a mysterious wound on his right foot.
Also, much of the running time is devoted to depicting the character's desperate efforts to secure his next fix.
The filmmaker thankfully avoids the stylistic cliches of the genre (psychedelic visuals, etc.), though the shaky, handheld video footage does at times induce physical sensations no doubt similar to what the main character is experiencing.
While the film offers nothing particularly revelatory about its subject, its gritty, no-nonsense style and the utter realism of Lahey's performance does offer compensations along the way.