The story centers around Andrew (Monty Lapica) who at 17 felt the void in losing his father unbearable.
Monty Lapica draws from his own life experience in his directorial debut of Self-Medicated, the recipient of 39 international film awards.
The story centers around Andrew (Monty Lapica) who at 17 felt the void in losing his father unbearable. Smart and handsome with a promising future, Andrew’s life began to spiral out of control. His mother, Louise Eriksen (Diane Venora), addicted to pain killers, grew in her concerns about her only son. She resorted to have Andrew forcibly kidnapped at night and taken to Brightway, a locked-down adolescent hospital in St. George, Utah.
Much to his credit, the 24 years old Lapica ambitiously wore three hats, as writer, director, and actor. Lapica took the leading role presenting the experience as he lived it. Though much older than his 17 years old character, he still manages to capture the teenager’s relentless spirit and energy.
Kristina Anapau, as his girlfriend Nicole, makes for a nice contrast with her bubbly personality. Golden Globe nominee Diane Venora does a superb job as a caring but helpless mother, sharing with Lapica the film’s most intense scenes.
Thought provoking and engaging are the feature’s psychosocial elements, as the issues of mourning, parenting and trust. Though exhibited differently, Andrew’s mourning parallels that of his mother, where both drown in self destructive behavior. The institution’s regimented structure had a counter effect and further confined Andrew’s healing.
Lapica opted to depict his native Las Vegas “to show how Vegas shapes an adolescence” he explains, “as opposed to focusing solely on the casinos and glitz.” Other scenes at the institution were shot in a wing of a functioning California State Mental Hospital.
Good music score by award-winning composer Anthony Marinelli complements the well paced feature.
Lapica’s extraordinary debut shows a lot of promise.