In this even-handed exposé, former broadcast journalist Justin Hunt examines meth use throughout the Western US, traveling from Portland, OR to Roswell, N.M., and a number of blue-collar stops in between.
Narrated by Val Kilmer, who played a meth-addicted musician in 2002′s The Salton Sea, the director backtracks to the birth of amphetamine in the late-1800s, which leads to methamphetamine in the early-1990s, before returning to the present (as fellow New Mexico resident Kilmer notes, Adolf Hitler was a regular user). For the most part, Hunt focuses on addicts, police officers, politicians, health providers, and social workers.
As one man, who lost a friend to the drug, poetically laments, “It’s the devil’s serum, and it leads you nowhere but into hell.” Kalispell Police Chief Frank Garner agrees. As he puts it, “There is nothing good to say about it, and all the bad stuff you’ve heard is true.” He adds that meth is “worse than all the other things I’ve seen come before it.” Hunt concludes by spending two weeks with James and Holly, a New Mexico couple battling addiction while raising four children.
Funded in part by Hunt’s non-profit American Meth Education Foundation and shot over 16 months, American Meth feels like the work of a first-time filmmaker. It moves quickly in the beginning, but the pace slows once James and Holly enter the picture. Still, Hunt’s debut offers an eye-opening look at a serious issue. In addition, songs from the soundtrack are available on a separate CD