The son in question is played by Billy Crudup, a near schizo drug user on a no-brain road to nowhere. But never mind Crudup, wait till you see the performance by Samantha Morton. When she was cast in Sweet And Lowdown, Woody Allen’s uncharacteristically misogynist film, Allen had her playing a mute. Even so, she stole the film from under Sean Penn’s chiselled cheeks. Here it’s brave Crudup who’s standing too close to the flame. She plays the girlfriend, a hopeless smack-happy, grinning, winsome and overwhelmingly simpatico partner to FH (Crudup, who at the time seemed to be on the brink of something big). Together they bounce from balls-up to self-inflicted distress, shooting up all the way. If that sounds glum, be reassured, Jesus’ Son has its funny scenes too, hilariously funny at times. It also gets the early 1970s period about right and the support players are strong – Jack Black, Will Patton, Dennis Hopper, Denis Leary. But back to Morton, who is so good there’s the suspicion that someone upstairs decided that to keep the focus on the star she’s going to have to be struck dumb – hot dang, someone already did that. So instead Morton is killed off at around the halfway and point and the film immediately starts behaving slightly like a car that’s had the air let out of its tyres. It’s worth the ride before and after the jump.
© Steve Morrissey 2013