BSA206: Drugstore Cowboy


Directed by Gus Van Sant ❖ Released 1989

Drugstore Cowboy (1989) follows Bob, Dianne, Rick and Nadine as they pop pills and evade the law.

I don’t think I enjoyed this film, I was certainly interested in the story, but I didn’t find it enjoyable. Perhaps I would have been a little more engaged with it if I hadn’t missed the first 15 minutes. Even so, the story seemed to make sense so I can’t have missed too much.

There was one particular technique that I did enjoy in this film; when the main character, Bob, was high, there would be extreme close up shots of random things, such as the trigger of his gun or Gentry’s tie, but as he started to get clean, the ECUs turned into close ups. I thought that was a clever way to show his state of mind and how he was beginning to see things clearer.

In some ways this film seemed to glamorise the drug culture and promote it by making it look like an exciting, fun kind of lifestyle, but there were also some moments that it did the opposite.
Nadine, the “innocent victim” of the story, suddenly commits suicide and this causes the main character to examine his life and make some changes.
It was almost as if the filmmakers wanted the audience to want the fun and exciting lifestyle these characters have had, but when this change of events happens, to be ashamed that they thought this seemed to be a good life.

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