I recently had a mad yearning to revisit one of my favourite films of the late 80’s, “Less than Zero”.
Featuring the hot young brat packish actors of the time: Robert Downey Junior, Jamie Gertz, Andrew McCarthy and James Spader and with its title taken from the 1985 best seller from Brett Easton Ellis (he of "American Psycho" fame), it extinguishes any fantasy we ever had of the young and rich of LA.
It is somewhat disappointing that Ellis’ books are never translated to screen with quite the same level of darkness that leaves you completely hollowed out – which is exactly the point Ellis is trying to make – societal greed and lack of humanity is pointless. So, we miss out on the snuff movies, abortion, kiddy sex and odd dead body featured in the novel, but then American Psycho hardly reached the heights of its promised translation from page to screen either.
However, all is not lost … not only do we witness the destruction of these smug rich kids’ lives, but we get to see it done stylishly. The interiors are all fashionably lit and in colour tones you could die for: all peaches and greys. Robert Downey Jr descends into the depths of despair yes, but he does it in style – wearing Commes des Garcons sandals and socks and an array of their shirts and jackets and to a soundtrack that will stir the emotions of any kid who lived through the 80's.
A literary sequel is in the works to be titled "Imperial Bedrooms", which, like "Less than Zero" is a title taken from an Elvis Costello song. It will be in our hot little hands in 2010.
Hopefully this time we will get our style with a little more hard core nihilism.