A Drunken Setup

This is an admirable attempt at forging a different picture of alcoholism, father-daughter relationships, and childhood damage. Unfortunately, it feels forced and manipulating. Having just rewatched Barfly, this is a different view of alcholism and probably reflects our conservative times. Mickey Rourke's character celebrates his drunken state, the father in Aberdeen wallows in it. He is depressed and nearly always searching for his next drink. He discards nearly everything looking for a beer or shot of whiskey. The estranged mother in the movie is dying and asks her daughter to collect her father and bring him to Aberdeen so she can see him before she dies. The daughter reluctantly obliges and thus begins the road movie device this film uses for driving the plot.

Father and daughter do no like each other. Father would be hard for anyone to get along with were they not also drunk. Daughter is a closet coke junkie and barely keeps her life together. Their dialogue and scenes are very well done, but you can't escape the feeling that it is dialogue and not conversation. The road movie device allows them to run into a few barriers (flat tire, shady road houses) that strains this battered relationship even further. They also bring only one change of clothes, but the movie seems to take place over four days or so. It's hard not to wonder how awful the car smells given the number of things that happen to them.

Aberdeen is a challenging movie. It runs a little dry, but is worth seeing.

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