‘No Future’ Review: A Secret Affair

“No Future” is the type of film that offers a challenge to anyone attempting to review it, because even the most hazy storyline summary will assure that most people will avoid it regardless of praise. This is not the type of drama or family movie that most people would choose to watch as a way to unwind. Those willing to give “No Future” a chance will find it to be a fairly sophisticated and realistic portrayal of two people plagued by grief, remorse, and loss, as well as their misguided attempts to come to terms with those sentiments.

Will’s story become the beginning of this movie review. Will (Charlie Heaton) is a young man and a former musician who is recovering from heroin addiction and is fully aware of all the pain he has caused in the past—when he visits his estranged father (Jackie Earle Haley), he makes Will roll up his sleeves to look for fresh needle tracks—and just how precarious his road to recovery is. Nonetheless, he’s clearly committed to getting clean for good—he attends 12-step meetings on a regular basis and has even started a relationship with girlfriend Becca (Rosa Salazar) that has progressed to the point where he’s considering asking her to move in with him, allowing her even more access to his life.

He also recognizes a potentially disastrous situation when he sees one, such as when Chris (Jefferson White), his estranged best buddy and former band mate, shows up at his place after a recent prison stay. Will doesn’t feel strong enough to aid Chris if he asks or to resist if he is urged to return to his old habits. Chris is plainly in a state of physical and emotional misery that reminds him all too well of what he has put behind him. He eventually turns Chris away, explaining that Becca would be staying the night. He receives a message from Chris’ mother, Claire (Catherine Keener), the next morning, notifying him that he returned home late that night, went into his bedroom, and died of an overdose.

Will attends the funeral, haunted by guilt, and reconnects with Claire, who is devastated not only by the loss of her child after years of trying to help him overcome his addiction, but also by the fact that she will never know whether Chris’ fatal overdose was an accident or if he killed himself on purpose. Will sympathizes with her, but he can’t bring himself to acknowledge that Chris went to visit him the night before he returned home, and that his rejection may have been the final straw for her son. That’s terrible enough, but things get considerably worse when the two enter into a sexual connection that, even in the best of circumstances, cannot possibly end well for anybody involved, largely out of a shared sense of grief and a need for some kind of solace.

This is bleak stuff, and Mark Smoot’s screenplay (which he also co-directs with Andrew Irvine) strives to strike a balance between truth and melodrama, with mixed results. For example, it’s clear from the moment Will fails to inform Claire about Chris’ visit that fateful night that this knowledge will be deployed, almost like clockwork, at the 70-minute mark, and the consequences will be exploited to propel the closing scenes forward. The movie also has a habit of introducing supporting characters and then failing to give them a reason to exist other than to keep the plot going.

So “No Future” isn’t exactly “entertaining,” at least not in the traditional sense. However, the raw intensity the picture generates in its best moments, as it goes to emotional areas few films these days even bother to reach, more than makes up for it. “No Future” may not be a good time, but it is an excellent film that is still worth viewing despite its flaws, and good to be watching on 123Movies online.

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