Director: Pamela Romanowsky
Cast: James Franco, Ed Harris, Amber Heard
Release Date: Available on Blu-ray & DVD July 5, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Oscar® nominee James Franco is riveting as a famous but troubled author whose fascination with a high-profile murder case brings his own dark past into focus. Based on the best-selling bookby Stephen Elliott, The Adderall Diaries follows one man’s desperate journey through sex, drugs, and lies as he tries to separate fact from fiction and ignite a life-changing romance. Ed Harris and Amber Heard costar in this gritty story about the shocking discoveries that lie beneath the truth.
‘The Adderall Diaries’ follows the personal journey of writer Stephen Elliott (Franco) as he is unexpectedly forced to confront his troublesome past and the history of painful experiences revolving around his father (Harris), which all return front and center indirectly reigniting past trauma as the result of a surprise visit from his estranged father at a book reading, and his fascination with the high profile murder trial of a man accused of killing his wife; a man whose behavior and testimony holds terrifying similarities to his father which he is unable to ignore. Now he must find a way to resolve his personal demons which continue to weigh on him before he reverts to the deadly and drug-infused ways of his past and ruins his relationship with a beautiful young woman who he continues to fall deeper in love with.
Directed by Pamela Romanowsky (The Color of Time) who also wrote the screenplay for the film (based upon Stephen Elliott’s memoir), Romanowsky does a competent job at the helm of ‘The Adderall Diaries’ guiding her own script with an erratic pace that is quite fitting to the story. The film also features a cast that includes a number of talented individuals such as James Franco (This Is The End, The Interview), Ed Harris (Run All Night, Snowpiercer), Amber Heard (Zombieland, Drive Angry), Christian Slater (TV’s Mr. Robot), and more, the majority of whom providing highly capable performances in each of their respective roles.
‘The Adderall Diaries’ is an entertaining, occasionally painful and rarely dull film based on Elliott’s memoir that tells a riveting and enthralling tale of the human condition and the pain and suffering, as well as joy that can arise so unexpectedly as the result of any random event. The film is capably guided by director Pamela Romanowsky and features a collection of talented folks comprising the cast including James Franco, Ed Harris, and a number more, and while it’s a decent film by all means and tells a powerful story of loss and discovery, it also falls short as a result of its impatience in many sequences which causes a number of moments to feel misplaced or simply better left without so much explanation (as well as additionally requiring more in a few instances).
Overall, ‘The Adderall Diaries’ is a solid film handled with an obvious passion by director Pamela Romanowsky and featuring some notable performances, yet it leaves you with a sense that something is always absent or often lacking throughout. It may not be a monumental achievement in filmmaking, but it’s a powerful and thoroughly entertaining movie that many folks will likely enjoy quite a bit. ‘The Adderall Diaries’ doesn’t attain my highest recommendation, but it’s certainly a decent flick worth checking out at some point, especially if the opportunity should present itself.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Adderall Diaries’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole, delivering a sharp, detailed and colorful presentation throughout. It holds up admirably even during the fast moving and/or darkly lit sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation that should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a relatively aggressive and consistently crisp and clean audio presentation that delivers in every way. Utilizing all five available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within the on screen world with music, crowd activity and other general ambience regularly making its way throughout the various speakers, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a more than adequate and fairly active 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Adderall Diaries’ includes a few solid extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director/Writer Pamela Romanowsky’, in addition a discussion with the director in ‘The Adderall Diaries: A Director’s Perspective’ (running approximately 12 minutes in length). A few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 10 minutes altogether) are also included.