PLOT: When Milo and Bella are on their way to shoot interviews for a documentary, they soon find themselves sidetracked. Milo’s brother Leo has just been arrested and must get himself to a rehabilitation clinic or he will face the consequences and go to prison. The catch is that Leo must come up with a lot of money to pay for his rehab stay. Along the way, the threesome find themselves looking to find the cash any way they can. All the while, Milo deals with his own addiction of facing life through the camera lens, capturing the quest on film.
There is a kinetic energy that bleeds through a little film called FIX. While so many movies as of late have used Cinéma vérité as a way to tell the story, it is rarely used in such a way as it is here. When Milo (Tao Ruspoli) and his partner Bella (Olivia Wilde) make a pit stop on the way to start interviews for a documentary, they find themselves amidst another story. It is simply the tale of Milo’s brother Leo (Shawn Andrews) who is given yet another chance at life. He must go to rehab in lieu of going to prison again. The trick is, he must come up with the five thousand dollar admission fee for the rehab center. The three of them end up on a road trip across various worlds in Los Angeles, hoping for a miracle. This adventure finds a menagerie of characters including a young artist who sincerely loves Leo. Megalyn Echikunwoke’s Carmen glows when she sees this lothario who has a genuine affection for her. We also meet the older, and the incredibly wealthy Daphne (Dedee Pfeiffer) who looks to be much more interested in the troubled man for partying and sex. Both women are quite effective, even if Ms. Pfeiffer is a bit underused.
We live in a world where YouTube rules and everyone has a video camera. So with that, it is becoming much more believable that somebody would be carrying one around constantly. With Milo, Tao Ruspoli gives a very honest performance as a man with his own addiction. Yet Mr. Ruspoli also wrote and directed FIX which seems to make complete sense. Much of the time, whether it be a huge monster terrorizing New York or a plague of zombies, you oftentimes wonder why they refuse to just drop the damn camera and run like hell. Here, the life that he is trying to save is his brother. There is nothing supernatural or mysterious about Leo’s demons. In one of the most effective scenes in the film, Leo shoots up explaining to his brother how it makes him feel. At that point, you sort of wonder how much of Tao Ruspoli’s story is absolutely true. FIX realistically explores the world of addiction without glamour but it dares you not to feel sorry for Leo and maybe even see the light through his eyes.
The exploration of Los Angeles here is a bit fascinating, if sometimes feeling a bit too romanticized and overly convenient. These three characters find themselves high in the Hollywood Hills all the way to South Central and beyond. Occasionally, it explores the lower class citizens who have given up on a society that would rather sweep the ugliness under the rug. When Carmen leads the gang on an attempt to sell some quality marijuana to earn the money, I found some of the willingness to be “on-camera” a bit unbelievable. If I were looking to buy drugs I don’t think I’d want it on YouTube. But again, maybe I am wrong. Sometimes the idea of having your face in front of a video camera may be all too tempting. While I was willing to accept some of this, I still felt a tinge of disbelief. But thanks to some really believable supporting performances I was willing to let some of that go.
As for the three leads, I was quite impressed. Ms. Wilde is quite a beauty, but she is also proving to be a strong actress. Her work on the series “House” has proven that she is more than just a pretty face, and I think that FIX only confirms how strong a talent she is. As for Andrews and Ruspoli, both are very convincing as two brothers with little in common. While Shawn may have a much more colorful role, I have to say that Tao is someone to watch for. Maybe the fact that he directed the film made his performance that much more interesting. But it is also not that hard to see why both Milo and Bella fall into Leo’s world. Shawn is vulnerable, funny and very charismatic without playing Leo as simply a miserable drug addict. If any one of these actors weren’t up to the task, FIX wouldn’t work. Thankfully, they are real enough to want to invest in their plight.
Now I’m sure that a great many of you don’t want to see another shaky cam movie. If that includes you, you will certainly find yourself frustrated quickly. The editing is sharp yet it is sometimes distracting. Each of their adventures is spread throughout various montage filled moments. An eclectic stream of music fills the space as the camera frenetically captures the journey. Ruspoli used this style of filmmaking in a unique and flamboyant way. I for one have no problem with a camera that can’t sit still, yet I think it could have been toned down here. In the few moments of stillness during the film’s short ninety minutes, I found it to be sometimes much more powerful and haunting. I wish the stillness had been used just a touch more. But you can’t deny the rich and touching story that FIX tells. While it will be hard to find in its very limited release, I recommend fans of such fare as DRUGSTORE COWBOY see this heartfelt slice of drama. My rating 7.5/10 -- JimmyO