Saw the drug recovery drama Clean and Sober starring Michael Keaton today. After viewing the original Batman movies again, I've been on a bit of a Keaton kick lately and thought I'd check out one of his better dramatic roles. (By the way, if anyone has a recommendation for a Keaton film, please hit me up.) I have to say, this was one of the best performances I've ever seen out of Keaton in any film. The first half of the film sets the dark tone of the story, where we see Keaton's character go through the typical stages of addiction, until he finally concludes that he has a severe alcohol and drug dependency. I really bought into his performance, especially during the stages where he is at his most pathetically dependent on drugs. Just watching him plead with his mother to loan him $30,000 so he can cover up an outstanding debt really makes you feel horribly sad for his situation. Nothing says depressing like asking your mother to take out a second loan on the house you grew up in, just to cover up an outstanding debt thanks in part to substance abuse.
The film also stars Morgan Freeman, who plays the part of a recovering addict who counsels Keaton while he's in rehab. It's an early performance for Freeman who really shines as a counselor who doesn't completely buy into Keaton's commitment to sobriety. During the second half of the movie, Keaton, with help from Freeman and the always dependable actor M. Emmet Walsh, begins to put his life back together, while watching one of his fellow recovering addicts, a young Kathy Bates, struggle to stay clean. My only complaints are that we didn't get to see Keaton's character suffer more through the process of trying to free himself from the bonds of addiction. At times I found myself hoping to see Keaton suffer more physical anguish while trying to detox, but it doesn't at all take away from his performance. I really do look forward to checking out more of his earlier films, but I'm afraid this may be the most dramatic role he's tackled in his library of work.