Meet Tao Ruspoli’s Glib, Posturing Fix


You wouldn’t guess this by reading the film histories of the period, but, back in the day, most of us who were young and sentient scornfully dismissed the bogus counterculture costume dramas (like Easy Rider) that supposedly gave voice to our frustrations. One can only hope that a few of today’s yutes will roll their eyes just as dismissively at Tao Ruspoli’s Fix, a shaky-cam odyssey across Los Angeles with a carload of drug dealers in which almost nothing rings true. Ruspoli, who was the film’s director, co-writer, and first-person cameraman, plays a documentary filmmaker doggedly recording every moment of his attempt to deliver his self-destructive ex-con brother (Shawn Andrews, in an entertaining, showboat performance) to a court-ordered stint in rehab. The lead-weight irony is that they may have to score and resell some pot to earn the cash needed to buy into the program. Ruspoli, it must be said, is an impressive rough-hewn stylist: Every grainy, bleached-out image is as artfully tousled as a $500 haircut. The slathered-on visual textures aren’t quite enough, however, to distract us from the glib, leftie posturing, the lazy writing (which confuses Tourettic obscenity with low-life authenticity), and the drug-deep existential platitudes (“Fear may be the only thing stronger than grief”). The director’s real-life wife, the alert and intelligent actress Olivia Wilde, comes along for the ride, and, man, does he owe her one—the movie would be a lot less watchable without her.