My Own Private Idaho (1991)

Gus van Sant delivers a western version of Midnight Cowboy with a big splash of Shakespeare.

Mike is a narcoleptic male prostitute in Idaho who gets bailed out and cared for by a rebellious rich kid, Scott. Mike is on a search to find the mother who abandoned him. Scott playing the hustler to try his rich daddy.

The film is extremely melancholy. There aren't any scenes built in to contrast the despair which makes the film hard to watch. A long scene adaptation of Henry IV which is done in Olde English tortures us and makes us thankful for the normal scenes that follow. Keanu Reaves is his wooden standard while River Phoenix performs masterfully as the tortured kid.

While there are strong sensitivities exposed in the story, the main gist is that no one cares about this kid - except perhaps us, the viewers.


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