Monday, January 16, 2017


Depressing, but not as depressing as I had expected, drug addiction story (set in New York City) about a young woman, Helen, who, while recovering from an abortion, is shown compassion by a small-time thief/heroin junkie named Bobby (Al Pacino).  Before you can say "I'm late for my Interpretative Twerking class!", Helen has shacked up with Bobby in his sleazy, rat trap apartment and become addicted to heroin herself.  In order to help pay for their addiction, she turns to prostitution.  Things just keep getting shittier and shittier from there.

Watching it now (this was my first time seeing it), all of these years after it's initial release, THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK is a a fascinating film on many levels.  First off, it's just a good movie.  I was really impressed with young Al Pacino's acting abilities.  Every time he's on screen, your eyes instantly go to him, to watch all of his small gestures and facial expressions.  Pacino managed to make the character of Bobby charming despite the fact he was nothing but a shitbag thief and junkie.  Another thing that I found intriguing was New York City itself.  (I've never been to NYC, but thanks to endlessly watching and re-watching Woody Allen films as a youth, I've developed a love for the town.)  The entire film was filmed in NYC, so many times during the movie I had to rewind it just to look at the stuff happening on the streets.  It was really cool...and so much trash!

No music, gritty as fook acting, dingy NYC scenery, a few scenes that should have been left on the editing room floor (the long needle scene, the entire puppy story), great ending and a few brief sightings of actors that would later become well-known including: Marcia Jean Kurtz, Raul Julia, Joe Santos and Paul Sorvino.

Overall, THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK is a dated film, but still very much worth watching.