Film-school grad and first-time filmmaker Monty Lapica overcomes a slightly off-putting screen presence and the fact that he’s a little too long in the tooth to be playing a high-school kid in the surprisingly assured Self Medicated, released in 2005. Lapica plays Andrew Eriksen (a thinly veiled version of himself), a high-school whiz kid who’s never come to terms with the death of his father and has descended into alcohol and drug abuse, leading to increasingly erratic, sociopathic and self-destructive behavior. His distraught (and pill-addicted) mother has him carted off to a hardcore lock-down rehab facility, which doesn’t prove to be a road to recovery.
Questions aside of how well Lapica will fare when he tackles material not directly related to his own life, this is a well-made, well-judged film that’s both effective and affecting. Photographed in a dark-edged style by low-budget cinematography veteran Denis Maloney, the film has a look far better than its budget would suggest. A daunting and impressive debut.
– reviewed by Ken Hanke