Cinema: Jesus' Son

Directed by Alison Maclean

Junkie memoirs always have happy endings; they are written by the survivors. But few dopester epics have the goofy lilt of Denis Johnson's 1992 tapestry of short stories. His hero, known only as F__head, is a Candide of the hard stuff, a clumsy innocent who finds comic epiphanies in degradation and atrocity. This film, with handsome Billy Crudup as FH and Samantha Morton as his doomed love, has no visual style to match Johnson's poetic prose. It just lays out the funny-gory scenes--say, a man with a hunting knife in his eye--and hopes you get the point. It's best to see...

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