The Boost 80’s Classic Film Reviewed on ZANI Featured

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The Boost opens with the hustle and bustle of Manhattan in the late eighties, contemporary jazz music blends in with the opening credits, creating a mood of affluence and positivity, as it was a period for many of upward mobility, career opportunities and lucrative schemes, some legit and some not.
As the music fades out, the camera zooms to a high-powered ground floor reception area. There sits a suited and booted young and handsome man, Lenny Brown, (James Woods; Once Upon A Time in America, Casino, Shark), nervously smoking a cigarette as he anxiously waits for Ned, (John Rothman; Bloodhounds of Broadway, Copycat, Guiding Light), yet Ned, a naïve and vulnerable man, has no idea who Lenny is. Lenny is a real estate agent trying to make a ‘living’ and believes that Ned is someone he can take advantage of. Although Lenny is no con artist, far from it, he is just hungry for success, and wants a better life for him and his young and beautiful wife, Linda Brown, (Sean Young; Blade Runner, Out of Control, Living the Dream). Lenny will do what it takes to achieve this, even if it means the odd fabrication or two. In the eighties unsolicited aggressive sales, be it face to face or over the telephone, was very much the norm. It wasn’t about business or relationship development, it was getting the unsuspecting client to sign on the dotted line there and then. Lenny Brown is just following the unwritten rulebook.



Lenny doesn’t close any business with Ned, yet a friendship develops leading Ned to inform Lenny about profits to be made from tax shelter investments, and the best place to do it, sunny California. So Lenny and Linda say goodbye to the Big Apple, and set off for Los Angeles to set up business with a contact of Lenny’s, Max Sherman, (Steven Hill; Mission: Impossible, Billy Bathgate, Law & Order) to make their fortune and live the American Dream.

Everything is going along swimmingly, the car, the house, the money, the lifestyle and the clothes, until the Browns meet the young mover and shaker, Joel Miller, (John Kapelos ; Forever Knight, Cold Blooded, The Shape of Water), who introduces the loving couple to cocaine, “Faith may move mountains; this stuff makes them fly”, states Miller, as the unique selling point for snorting the white powder. Slowly and surely the Browns are literally hooked in, and over a course of time, the dream is shattered.



Based on the 1983 novel, Ludes: A Ballad of the Drug and the Dream, by actor/author Benjamin Stein, who co-wrote the screenplay. Ludes is the street name for Quaalude, which is the drug highlighted in the book, as opposed to cocaine.

Both the novel and film The Boost act as a cautionary tale, not from a moral high ground point of view, as both are stating anyone, male or female regardless of race or religion, can easily become addicted to drugs or alcohol via the recreational route. Therefore, it is an everyman story, which is sadly still relevant today, if not more so, as cocaine is no longer a rich man’s drug, and is certainly in abundance in all social circles and walks of life.

The Boost is a slow burner as the Director is Harold Becker, (Sea of Love, Malice, City Hall), whose forte is in character development, engaging plots with subplots, which is intensified by touching and vivid cinematography, therefore a poignant and intriguing film is delivered. Furthermore, all the actors, leading and support, give authentic and engaging performances. Yet focusing on Woods and Young, who go from ‘Love’s Young Dream’ to ‘A Living Nightmare, in an empathetic and realistic manner, making the viewer feel for the couple.



Young, as Linda, sees the pitfalls of the drug and stops using it, she is hope, whilst Wood, as Lenny, descends into self-destruction, losing everything due to his addiction. This is heightened further when the US federal government change their policies on tax shelter investments, resulting in Lenny losing a lot of money. Life takes a spiral downward turn, causing Lenny to take out his frustrations in a violent manner on the loving and loyal Linda, he is despair. The yin and yang of modern living, the junction of life, we all face on a weekly if not on a daily basis. With some of us believing that a little boost will make the day more pleasurable, regardless of the long-term consequences.




Check out Matteo Sedazzari's Novel Here - A Crafty Cigarette - Tales of a Teenage Mod - Foreword by John Cooper Clarke 


Read 898 times Last modified on Thursday, 22 February 2018 15:18

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