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Less Than Zero

Where to Watch Less Than Zero

R
1987

Less Than Zero is an intense and stirring 1987 drama film, a cinematic adaptation of the novel with the same name penned by the infamous Bret Easton Ellis. It features a stellar cast, including Robert Downey Jr., Andrew McCarthy, and Jami Gertz, directed by Marek Kanievska.

Set in the glitzy, glamorous Los Angeles of the 1980s, the film revolves around a trio of privileged and affluent Beverly Hills high school graduates: Clay Easton (played by Andrew McCarthy), Julian Wells (Robert Downey Jr.), and Blair (Jami Gertz). Starting with the premise of the fall from innocence and the destructiveness of excessive indulgence, the narrative launches into a vivid exploration of the dark underbelly of Hollywood's shimmering façade.

Andrew McCarthy plays Clay, an incoming university freshman, who returns home for Christmas vacation, expecting to rekindle his relationship with Blair, played by Jami Gertz. Their high school sweetheart dynamic is complicated by Clay's conservative ideals, especially in contrast to the decadent lifestyle rampant amongst their peers, which both excite and repel his sensibilities. Gertz's character, Blair, has developed a dangerous substance addiction fueled by the pressures of their superficial society and her relationship with Julian, whose desperation has snared him in a vicious cycle of debt, drugs, and decay.

In a grim and poignant portrayal, Robert Downey Jr. steals the show with his character, Julian, a former high school star turned small-time hustler, grappling with a spiraling drug addiction. Julian has been reduced to a shadow of his former ebullient self, dancing precariously on the precipice of moral and physical collapse. Downey Jr.'s raw and compelling performance underscores themes of privilege, addiction, and the tumultuous search for identity in the heart of a society obsessed with excess.

An integral character in the film is the city of Los Angeles itself. Framed amidst palm trees, fast cars, extravagant parties, and a pulsating new-wave soundtrack, the city's glamour often masks the emptiness and despair simmering beneath its surface. It's a world of attractive facades, where happiness is constantly bought and sold, but genuine joy is as elusive as ever.

Unlike the typical coming-of-age tales, Less Than Zero doesn't shy away from showcasing the harsh and disturbing realities of life among the upper crust. It immerses audiences in the lurid bistros and nightclubs of '80s LA, exposing the hollowness and isolation that often accompany unchecked privilege and wealth. Alongside its exploration of addiction, the film also delves into elements of love, friendship, and acceptance amid a world that is as disillusioning as it is dazzling.

The narrative engages the viewers not just with the debauchery of the characters' lives, but also the stark contrast between their outwardly enviable lifestyles and their inner struggles. While the characters primarily contend with addiction, wider themes of aimlessness, dislocation, and the dangers of superficiality run throughout the film, providing a multifaceted perspective on the decadent 1980s LA scene.

Less Than Zero's cinematography is a visual feast, aptly demarking the paradox between the bright, glitzy exteriors of LA and the characters' internal darkness. The musical score, dominated by edgy synth-pop tunes contributing to the overall mood and era of the storyline, further enhances the film's thematic depth.

Without a doubt, Less Than Zero is a disturbing yet compelling commentary on the consequences of excess and the constant pursuit of hedonism. Above all, it is an unflinching portrayal of the human condition, laying bare the struggles facing those seemingly at the pinnacle of society. The film's poignant narratives and the magnificent performances of its lead actors make it an unforgettable addition to the pantheon of 1980s cinema.

In conclusion, Less Than Zero is a striking film that explores the destructive nature of addiction in a world obsessed with surface-level glamour. The trio of McCarthy, Gertz, and Downey Jr. bring life to this critical narrative through indelible performances that stay with the audience long after the end credits roll. Despite its unsettling subject matter, the film offers something profoundly compelling and deeply human amidst the glitz and debauchery.

Less Than Zero is a Drama, Crime, Romance movie released in 1987. It has a runtime of 98 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.4. It also holds a MetaScore of 48.

How to Watch Less Than Zero

Where can I stream Less Than Zero movie online? Less Than Zero is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, Starz, Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Less Than Zero for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.4/10
48/100
Director
Marek Kanievska
Stars
Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, Robert Downey Jr., James Spader
Also directed by Marek Kanievska
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