Tribeca review: A Thousand Junkies gives us three lovable anti-heroes searching for their next fix

Tommy Swerdlow as Tommy, TJ Bowen as TJ, and Blake Heron as Blake in A Thousand Junkies
Tommy Swerdlow as Tommy, TJ Bowen as TJ, and Blake Heron as Blake in A Thousand Junkies

By the time we get to the end of the long day’s journey in A Thousand Junkies, we’re as relieved as three main characters who finally find their fix.

Not that we haven’t grown fond of the characters — we have — or, that we want the movie to end — we can’t wait for their next adventure. It’s just that it’s been one helluva a ride through the decidedly unglamorous underbelly of La La Land.

A kind of Trainspotting for Los Angeles, the movie has a simple premise: Three heroin junkies are in bad shape and getting worse by the minute.

They’re all ready to meet up with their Man, but life keeps getting in the ways — including the dealer’s wife having a baby.

Tommy Swerdlow, TJ Bowen and Blake Heron are our intrepid trio, brothers from different mothers who are united in a pursuit of their holy grail. Swerdlow also directs from a screenplay by Bowen and him.

A character study of three anti-heroes, the film balances that fine between dark comedy and drama.

The characters are at once endearing as they trade good-natured banter, and despicable as they exploit every friend and family they can find to money to fuel their addiction.

There’s an element, too, of a road trip movie, except all the streets and freeways are in L.A. The city is another character in the action, always seeming to thwart their best laid plans.

Along the way Bill Pullman makes an unexpected appearance as the buddy who delivers a “hard no” to the request for another handout.

Thoroughly independent in its story and production, this is a finely crafted film with an original voice. Can’t wait for T2 A Thousand Junkies.

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