New York multi-media artist and gay activist David Wojnarowicz died in 1992, but his faith in writer/director McLean, the adapter of his autobiographical writings, is vindicated by this arresting first feature. Framing three periods in the life of an American outsider, the film moves nimbly between a troubled New Jersey childhood as young David (Olmo Tighe) finds himself caught between an abusive father and long-suffering mother; an adolescence spent on sidewalks where the teenage David (Michael Tighe) hustles for a living; and anguished maturity in which the adult David (Lyons) discovers the thrill of anonymous sex on the open road, before facing the shadow of AIDS. With its feel for the American landscape pitched between Kerouac and Gus Van Sant, the film's immersion in low-life Americana seems so authentic it's a surprise to learn that this is the work of a British movie-maker - McLean's background in music video and art direction tells in the sheer visual assurance. Piercing and provocative, McLean's determinedly cinematic vision announces him as, potentially, a key British independent of the '90s.
Cast and crew