There are always surprises aplenty in my unpaid cult film reviewer gig. Sometimes I might receive a free t shirt (that only a mentally challenged child would actually wear), other RARE days I may receive an email from a director from something I just reviewed, Still other days I may receive a veiled threat that if yours truly doesn't start “liking” the films they send, that the company reps are gonna cut off my spigot of free cinematic goodness. (Ha, NEVER) Well, the film “We All Go Down” is an example of my favorite surprise of all, and that's when a black and white film I have never heard of, featuring five color cover art that was filmed before I was even born...just happens to be something decent, likable, dare I say...good???
“We All Go Down” was actually the first film of Gerard Damiano, a notable Porn director whose most famous film was “The Devil in Miss Jones”. Yet this film is no porno, at least not intellectually. I know how this must sound by now, me saying that. Let me explain lest you think I have finally gone off the deep end where I blather on once more for three pages about ancient porn movies that don't even warrant a sentence review from a sane person. There is plenty of sex in this movie, perhaps much of it being real, actual. Yet this is no XXX film, the camera angles are R at best. The REAL reason why this isn't an “adult” movie is because there isn't any sort of happiness, joy or feel of easy release to be found whatsoever in its length like so many visual “happy endings” of a porno. The characters are deeply flawed folks, addicted to this and that, suffering from some secret past or emotional wrong, and this film covers their entire dysfunctional loveless relationships with one another. The final effect is a mood of complete Nihilism, if not realism.
It is part of of my credo to never give away the plot of a film that actually strove to have one, but the players in W.A.G.D. are all people you will actually care for, even if only to hope that they get whats coming for them. There is Pete the impotent Heroin addict, Rick the “passive to a fault” nice guy whose girlfriend lusts after all things, Burt, the complete and utter asshole who uses everyone; anything up at his whim and let us not forget Nancy, a sweet pretty girl “who just wanted to be loved”. Together their dialogues and personal vices played out onscreen, against, often expressed through one another, is all the dark character exposition you ever hoped for, especially in a sub-genre like this, that face it, isn't known for its distinct characters, or its pot boiling plots.
It's filmed in black and white which only adds to its bleakness, its over forty years old and it's more than a little depressing. But I do KNOW that if Brett Easton Ellis released a shot for shot remake of it tomorrow with a Hollywood cast, film critics everywhere would at least say that it was as good as Less Than Zero or The Rules of Attraction..(perhaps even better than the latter). The cinematic trip to rock bottom by a small clutch of friends isn't exactly a sweet scenic trip that everyone will want to climb on board for, but the sights along the way is worth the ten dollar ticket price of this DVD. It's got all the pain, punishment and absolutist moral tincture of a 1950's drug awareness film strangely coupled with all the “sex” of a lost stag roughie. Whether this makes the film, sleazy, sordid or sad, is up to your own taste. All I know is it's worth four skulls. To misquote a gloating cereal selling leprechaun from my youth: “It's tragically delicious”.
So let's all go down....to the following link and check it out for yourself.