- Movie Rating -

Torchlight (1985)

| February 8, 1985

I am fascinating by portraits of drug addicts, when they are done right.  We see nice people, ordinary people falling down a spiral staircase of ruin and despair both in their personal health and in their personal lives.  It’s all a slick, glossy surface until the reality of addiction settles in.  And there is the problem with Torchlight, an addiction thriller that gets the slick glossy surface right but forgets to take it away with then drugs become a problem.

The movie stars Pamela Sue Martin (who was the co-writer and associate producer here) as Lily, an artist who meets and then marries a building contractor named Jake (Steve Railsback).  They have a very strange marriage.  For example, he gives her a pair of earrings as an anniversary present despite the fact that she doesn’t have her ears pierced – he fixes that while they have sex.

This bizarro trait helps explain how and why the couple eventually gets hooked on cocaine.  Personally, I think it might have been more believable is they were a simple couple who were experimenting with drugs without the eccentricities, but okay.  Anyway, Jake begins freebasing after being introduced to the stuff by a slick dealer named Sidney (Ian McShane) whose face is so covered in vasicine that he turns into a walking cliché.

Soon Jake and Lily start getting hooked on the stuff, and soon their lives fall apart, and so too does the movie.  This is well-intentioned thriller but it never delves into how the lives of these people are being affected, how they see the problem before them, or how they begin to look for a window to recovery.  There’s a grimy surface to this movie, there are some uncomfortable scenes, but the movie makes it all look too pretty, too glossy, and not dirty and messy enough.  When it is over Jake and Lily are still addicts but there’s no punctuation on their circumstance.  With that, what are we to think?

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Drama