The Cold Light of Day

Vera Farmiga in Down to the Bone (2004)

Irene (Vera Farmiga) is many things; a wife, a mother, a cashier at a grocery store and she is also a drug addict. She is not the only one in her family as her husband Steve (Clint Jordan) is also a drug user and their marriage has become stale. But Irene gets a wake up call to how her drug problem is affecting her and her family leading to the brave decision to kick the habit and go in to rehab. But in facing up to her addiction and getting clean Irene is confronted by a whole host of other issues especially when she meets Bob (Hugh Dillon).

When ever I read that a movie is critically acclaimed I actually get turned off because more often than not critically acclaimed seems to go hand in hand with independent movies which do little to entertain or grab your attention and tend to border on the pretentious. Here is the good news as "Down to the Bone" whilst critically acclaimed is a fascinating movie which draws you in through its rawness and a stunning performance of Vera Farmiga and trust me movies like this benefit greatly from having a star name involved to bridge the gap for those who tend to avoid this sort of movie.

Hugh Dillon in Down to the Bone (2004)

Now "Down to the Bone" is not a complicated movie as it takes us on a journey of working class drug addiction and it has a cinema verite feel as instead of watching a movie it feels like we are the fly on the wall observing Irene's life. We see how on drugs she is easy going but when she isn't high she is tense and easy to snap whilst desperate enough to use her children's birthday money to try and buy drugs. We see how she books herself in to rehab but that is a struggle especially as Steve won't bring the children in to "that place" to see her. We also see the various treatments which go on in rehab from group discussions to yoga and acupuncture all done to get a grip on the monkey on your back. And surprisingly it is fascinating and it draws you in to every element of addiction and what some people encounter in going to rehab.

The thing is that what I have discussed so far is just the opening 30 minutes and what follows is just as fascinating as Irene leaves rehab to try and face the outside world and home where her husband is still using. It continues with this fascinating look at the life of addiction with Vera Farmiga delivering a fantastic performance of a woman struggling with addiction from the stress of wanting a fix to the switching between feeling alive and stuck in the routine. Plus there is the Bob aspect to the story which I will let you discover for yourself.

What this all boils down to is that "Down to the Bone" whilst having that almost artsy feel of critically acclaimed independent movies deals with a fascinating story in a raw but effective manner.

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