Synopsis: Richard (Thomas Jane), Ron (Jeremy Piven), Jonathan (Rob Lowe) and Tim (Christian McKay) are old college friends that gather annually for a week in Big Sur to celebrate their friendship and catch-up on each other’s lives. They seem like typical men in their forties – all with careers, families, and enormous responsibilities – but like most people there is a lot more beneath the surface.
As the week progresses, they go down the rabbit hole of excess as mountains of drugs are consumed to a blaring rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. Parties with much younger women spin out of control. Exhausted and run ragged, they bare their souls to one another revealing the disillusionment with their lives. As the truth emerges, the reunion takes a much darker turn when a promise from their past is brought to light. From director Mark Pellington, I MELT WITH YOU is a visually dazzling, wild and wooly trip deep into the male psyche, driven by four amazingly committed and profound performances.
Release Date: December 9, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Four middle-aged men are experiencing life crisis’ in I Melt With You. On their annual friend vacation in Big Sur they all meet to spend a week binging on liquor and drugs, while experiencing existential moments alone, and with one another. Jonathan (Rob Lowe) is a doctor who has become the go-to for prescription drug addiction by his clients–his cash for drugs practice has eaten away at his pride and respect for his career, as well as ruined his marriage and caused his own son to dismiss him as his father. Ron (Jeremy Piven) is a high-powered executive who is about to be indicted by the government, his wonderful wife and children and have no idea the trouble they are about to find themselves in unknowingly. Richard (Thomas Jane) was once an author, he now works as a teacher in a private school; his miserable experience is his own doing, as is his loneliness. Tim (Christian McKay) lost his partner and suffers from a broken heart, that of which he blames himself. These four men have known each other since college, and while in college they made a pact. It is this pact that changes their trip from a mere escape from reality into a nightmarish week full of penance, regret, and death.
I Melt With You is a strange film to watch, and to observe. The initial feeling is one of sadness towards these four men who find escaping from their lives for a week in an oblivious state of drunkenness and excessive drug use acceptable. After days of abuse on their bodies and minds the sad state of each sets in instead, making it depressing to watch as they spiral further into melancholy. Finally it switches to the strange pact being revealed with the death of one of the men via suicide. Instead of going to the authorities to report his death they bury his body on the cliff below the rented home they are sharing. The film then attempts to delve further into the pact between the men but it becomes so convoluted in its own attempts to bridge the avante garde with standard filmic practices nothing makes sense.
I Melt With You is a victim of its own making, presenting four men in crisis, taking them to a breaking point, and then offering an explanation for such breaking with a pact that in itself lacks any form of common sense or rationale. Being that they are heavily influenced by the drugs and alcohol can possibly explain why they take the pact as a valid reason for the events that continue to unfold in the third act but to the viewer it is absurd. The rapid deterioration of men over 40 whose lives have not worked out as planned, choosing to act childish and reckless for a week in order to forget their miserable existence showed promise for I Melt With You. The death pact, as it may be referred, changes the entire tone of the film, and ruins it entirely because of the nonsensical methods in which this turn in the story is employed.
If you are planning on spending a week binging on drugs, of the illegal and pharmaceutical kind, and alcohol you had better have a great music playlist to accompany your highs and lows. The choice of music in I Melt With You fits in perfectly with the deranged, over-excited experiences the men encounter. There is an excessive use of metal in the film; the high-octane pulsating of such music mimicking the overindulgence. A great use of a clip from “The Sex Pistols” lead singer Johnny Rotten, and a subsequent song, sets an initial mood only punk can in a film. Music is continually used to heighten the scenes, and to portray both the action at hand and to mask the greater emotions of each man. Waking up from a hangover should call for quiet, in I Melt With You it calls for loud music; quiet gives way to thinking and that is something these men are trying to avoid, at least initially. The soundtrack for the film does right by the subject matter and character actions, it keeps the momentum high while the viewer inevitably expects the low to come once the music stops.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Mark Pellington
- Producer(s): Glenn Porter
- Screenwriter(s): Rob Lowe (Jonathan)Jeremy Piven (Ron)Thomas Jane (Richard)
- Story: Christian McKay (Tim)
- Cast: Carla Gugino (Laura)Sasha Grey (Raven) Don BroidaEric SchmidtIan Sebastian Kasnoff
- Cinematographer: tomandandy
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA