Better Than Love is the debut from writer/director Ted Carney; co-written by Tim Schaff. The film stars Andrew Lawrence, Alexandra Rodriguez, DeRon Brigdon, Lily Berlina & Matthew Lawrence.
“19-year-old Jon’s (Andrew Lawrence) hopes of escaping the suburban ghetto get derailed when his drug-hustling childhood friend is incarcerated. Jon’s loyalty challenges his morality as he ascends to benevolent “Kingpin” of his neighborhood. Jon develops a relationship with a beautiful recovering addict, AJ (Alexandra Rodriguez). Everything comes to a halt when Jon suffers a severe accident. Jon’s physical and emotional pain leads him to a new romance, with OxyContin. Unable to track down AJ, Jon falls into the deep hole of addiction. Caught between love and death, Jon tries to save everyone but himself.”
This film is an interesting exploration of what can happen when you fall in with the wrong crowd; however ultimately Jon’s downfall comes when he himself has an issue with drugs and addiction in a cruel twist of fate. There is a nice exploration of the various relationships at play here; where some turn out to be more dangerous than others and a multi-layered performance from Lawrence who does a good job of carrying the film. There are also a variety of memorable characters in the supporting cast that add to a very gritty and real-world feel to the film.
I did feel however the cinematography tended to be too dark in general although there were some visually interesting and creative sequences. The film is supported by a varied and evolving score which includes hip hop source cues and more delicate acoustic guitar, piano and ambient sound sections which help to fill out the world of the film further.
3/5 – An interesting exploration of the link between addiction and relationships
The film is available now on Amazon Prime.