Reviews for January 12th, 2011
I'm Dangerous With Love
Directed by Michel Nigroponte.
This powerful, palpably engaging documentary follows Dimitri Mugianis, the former front man of the band Leisure Class, as he battles many years of drug and alcohol addiction, and finds a solution that detoxifies his body and ends his addiction. He achieves that state of detoxification by taking a hallucinogenic substance called Ibogain made from the roots of Iboga, an African shrub. The FDA, a U.S. government agency that can rarely be trusted given their conflicts of interests, has classified Ibogain as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance therefore making the act of using it to be illegal. Now that Dimitri has found a new, drug-free life thanks to Ibogain, he decides to help other drug addicts by introducing them to Ibogain as well in hopes that it will also put an end to their addictions once and for all. Essentially, director Michel Negroponte takes you on a journey with Dimitri thatís concurrently physical and spiritual because Dimitri does change his perspective on life throughout as he fearlessly visits many drug addicts including one particular addict in Canada who has a seizure from Ibogaine and nearly dies. The journey culminates in a trip to Africa where Dimitri meets Bwiti shamans who lead him through a lengthy iboga initiation. Even the director himself ends up sampling a little bit of Ibogaine. Negroponte avoids the use of talking heads and bombarding the audience with scientific facts; instead he unflinchingly shows you what Dimitri is going through. The use of music, cinematography and even some nifty animated sequences help you to palpably grasp Dimitriís thoughts and feelings. He doesnít shy away from showing Dimitri suffering from a heroin withdrawal, for instance. Not surprisingly, itís a very intense experience for Dimitri as well as you as the viewer. Perhaps another documentary could get more into the science of how Ibogain works or, in some cases, how it doesnít work, but at least Iím Dangerous With Love raises awareness of Ibogainís existence and piques your interest finding more information about it. At a running time of only 1 hour and 24 minutes, it manages to be a powerful, unflinchingly honest and intense experience that captivates you on a visceral level.
Number of times I checked my watch: 1Released by First Run Features. Opens at the IFC Center.