A hallucinatory fantasy clashes with the consequences of the real world in this documentary. Hardcore drugs and animalistic sex dominates the lives, and deaths, of these young men who use chemsex and 'smashing' as escapism.
William Fairman and Max Gogarty are cautious to avoid judgment in this film. Like the best interviewers, they let their subjects talk, rather than penetrating into their inner-psyche, invading who they are. They also make sure to address every stance, from HIV deniers to those who are fully possessed by the power of narcotics and sex. This leads to harrowing recounts and terrifying vignettes of lives barely lived.
The documentary uses smaller aspect ratios for the testimonies. This provides a level of intimacy, suggesting privacy in conversation. This constricted viewpoint contrasts with the hedonistic, drug-fuelled orgies which are filmed plainly with no attempt at censorship. The filmmakers address the issue head-on, understanding that to censor would be to destroy.
The film ends on a bitter note. Asking many of their subjects if they see themselves stopping in the near future, they reply with 'I'd hope so' or 'I'd love to live a normal life.' But when the underworld is seeping through the lucid skin of the over, how can one resist temptation?