Documaker Todd Ahlberg's penchant for cautionary studies of the dark corners of gay culture ("Hooked") continues in "Meth," a potent broadside on the dangers of crystal meth. Gay and lesbian fests will be key launchpad for pic, which will also score abroad and in cable niches.

Documaker Todd Ahlberg’s penchant for cautionary studies of the dark corners of gay culture (“Hooked”) continues in “Meth,” a potent broadside on the dangers of crystal meth. Most frequently depicted in media reports as the drug of choice of rural America, meth’s currency in gay life is far less known, so Ahlberg’s angle has the effect of suggesting the drug’s wide-spread national impact. Gay and lesbian fests will be key launchpad for pic, which will also score abroad and in cable niches.

Ahlberg trains his sharp, high-def lens on a roster of past meth users (often appearing in tight, claustrophobia-inducing close-ups) who describe their own path to addiction, with an emphasis on the drug’s social allure. Able to strip away inhibitions and work as a stimulant, meth is consistently described here as overwhelming in its power to kickstart the libido. Dealer Andrew McGregor, seen shooting up, wants to get off of meth, calling it “the devil.” Ahlberg surely hopes this will be the conclusion drawn by the young gay viewers he’s pointedly targeting.

Meth

Production

A Babalu Pictures presentation. (Inter-national sales: Babalu Pictures, San Francisco.) Produced, directed, edited by Todd Ahlberg.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Ulf Soderqvist; music, Chris Zippel; art director, Jayson Whitmore. Reviewed at Santa Barbara Film Festival, Feb. 9, 2006. (Also in San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.) Running time: 79 MIN.

With

Andrew McGregor, Ryan M. Brown, James Reed Johnson, Mark King, Jeffrey Meyer, Dave Mohr, Jared Murray, Brent Pendleton, Stephan Schell, David Verret, Jonathan Wells.

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