Permanent Midnight ***1/2 (out of 5) (1998)

Cast: Ben Stiller, Elizabeth Hurley, Maria Bello, Fred Willard, Janeane Garofalo

Directed by David Veloz

An adaptation of Jerry Stahl's autobiography, a Hollywood TV writer whose life comes crashing down after becoming addicted to heroin.

A very impressive dramatic debut for comedian Stiller, and a well-crafted and directed film by Veloz. You've certainly seen this type of film before in such movies as THE BOOST and CLEAN AND SOBER, but unlike those films, PERMANENT MIDNIGHT wisely sidesteps the heavyhanded overmoralization and lets the viewer merely watch a life crumble do to addiction. Terrific performances and tight direction never miss a beat (until a rushed final wrap up), and recommended viewing, especially for people who are looking to overcome their own addictions.

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