DVD Verdict
Home About News Blu-ray DVD Reviews Upcoming DVD Releases Contest Podcasts Forums Judges Contact  

Case Number 13785: Small Claims Court

Buy Most High at Amazon

Most High

Dokument Films // 2004 // 98 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 6th, 2008

• View Judge Johnson's Dossier
• E-mail Judge Johnson
• Printer Friendly Review


Every purchase you make through these Amazon links supports DVD Verdict's reviewing efforts. Thank you!




 

All Rise...

Judge David Johnson just says no.

The Charge

To know how high you've been, you've got to hit rock bottom.

The Case

Holy Cow. As far as explorations into the darkness of drug addiction go, I'd be willing to publicly state that Most High is pretty much unrivaled. Writer/director/star Marty Sader single-handedly delivers one of the most gripping, jarring looks into one man's descent into drug abuse and self-immolation I've seen.

Sader plays Julius, a seemingly well-adjusted guy with a rewarding job as a behavioral health counselor, a gaggle of loyal friends and an upbeat outlook on life. Then a bunch of bad, bad things happen to him all at once. His jerk of a boss fires him for being late, his adoptive father dies suddenly and he painfully exits a long-term relationship. Broken and vulnerable, Julius happens across his father's biological daughter (Laura Keys) after the funeral and immediately gets sucked into her sexy world. She's a wild one, and introduces Julius to the joys of cocaine and threesomes and anonymous sex. It's exciting at first, but this fast and hard lifestyle takes its toll on Julius and he soon bottoms out, drowning in an ocean of addiction.

Not since Christian Bale turned into an emaciated husk of his former self for The Machinist have I seen such a stunning on-screen transformation. The film itself is top-shelf for sure, but what will likely create the most buzz about Most High is how Marty Sader transformed himself from a normal-looking guy with a little bit of a well-fed gut to a skeletonized version of himself. And it's not just the physical metamorphosis that delivers drama. Sader unloads a powerful performance as a man who circles the drain, and coupled with his astonishing weight-loss, his Julius represents a profoundly effective caricature of the effects of addiction.

Though the subject material is deadly serious—and the ending is about as grim as it gets—Sader injects a surprising amount of black humor into the film. As a result, Most High doesn't feel as nihilistic as it had the potential to be. By no means does the humor dilute the thematic material, but it makes the film unique and memorable. The aforementioned ending won't leave you grinning from ear to ear, yet it's executed with a great amount of imagination and creativity in a fantasy-meets-reality fashion. Impressive stuff.

There's not much else to say simply because there's no room for argument: Most High is dynamite, worthy of the beaucoup awards it bagged on the independent circuit and required viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in the diabolical, transformative tolls of substance abuse.

The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen is clean and the 2.0 stereo is up to the task. This is a substance-rich experience, however, not necessarily stylistic. Sader and company deliver a chatty, but interesting feature-length commentary.

Give us your feedback!

Did we give Most High a fair trial? yes / no

Share This Review


Follow DVD Verdict


Other Reviews You Might Enjoy

• A River Runs Through It
• Tortilla Soup
• The Europeans
• Night Sun

DVD Reviews Quick Index

• DVD Releases
• Recent DVD Reviews
• Search for a DVD review...

Scales of Justice

Judgment: 95

Perp Profile

Studio: Dokument Films
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Drama
• Independent

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Trailer

Accomplices

• IMDb








DVD | Blu-ray | Upcoming DVD Releases | About | Staff | Jobs | Contact | Subscribe | Find us on Google+ | Privacy Policy

Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.