*** (three stars)
Powerful performances by John Hawkes, Elle Fanning and Glenn Close grace "Low Down," director Jeff Preiss' unvarnished depiction of a jazz musician's heroin addiction seen through the eyes of his daughter. Fanning plays Amy-Jo Albany, who co-wrote the film (with Topher Lilian) based on her memoir, at ages 13 and 15 living in mid-'70s Hollywood with her father, acclaimed pianist Joe Albany (John Hawkes), who dodges his parole officer and tries to fight off his desire to shoot up. The movie's narrative meanders through the offbeat characters Amy-Jo encounters in their rundown apartment building hookers and pornographers and other musicians. The movie's strength comes from the byplay between Hawkes' troubled Joe and Fanning's observant Amy-Jo, and a winning turn by Close as Joe's sympathetic but fed-up mother.
Sean P. Means
"Low Down" screens again at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City; Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Library Center Theatre, Park City; Thursday at noon at the Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City; Friday at 8:30 a.m. at the Prospector Square Theatre, Park City; and Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Sundance Screening Room, Sundance resort.