Over the GW


Can $30,000 buy a filmmaker catharsis from two and a half years of psychological and physical trauma? That’s the budget of writer/director/ cinematographer/editor/co-star Nick Gaglia’s first feature, an undeniably personal if amateurish psychodrama based on his stint in an abusive rehab center in North Jersey that has since been sued into oblivion. Playing out as an unfocused procedural, the film follows the teen addict’s 847-plus days in the nameless, unlicensed clinic. Under the whacked-out tutelage of Dr. Hiller (Albert Insinnia), “treatment” features counselors pinning kids to the floor, group humiliation, and rules that prohibit reading or socializing–and could I offer you a glass of Kool-Aid? Gaglia certainly knows the material cold, poor guy, and his unknown cast is surprisingly solid (minus Insinnia’s unintentionally goofy demon-doc). But like the illogical psychobabblings pounded into the patients’ brains, Gaglia’s torture re-creations become rote quickly, and his cross-processed, color-tinted, randomly inserted, over-zoomed Film School 101 indulgences need their meds adjusted.