Now On DVD: Downtown 81 Captures A Lost New York, For Good And For Bad

In its best moments, Downtown 81 achieves a rare state of transcendence, wiping away the mists of time and making the Manhattan that existed in 1981 come alive once again. Too bad those moments are few and far between. Written by Glenn O'Brien, directed by Edo Bertoglio, and starring Jean Michel Basquiat in his only dramatic performance, Downtown 81 is structured around 24 hours in the life of an artist who gets locked out of his apartment and then spends the day rambling around the city, wondering what to do with his life. The narrative is loosely assembled, with all the dialogue apparently added and synched in post-production. To be kind, I'll note the low, low budget, and pass on to what holds the greatest...

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