*Online Premiere* The story of a drug-fueled weekend in a Brooklyn apartment propelled by grief and loyalty. Lee, reeling from the death of his mother, visits the home of his old friend, Monty. Given his present state of mind (and body), it’s not a pleasant visit, at least from the perspective of Monty’s well put together wife, Virginia. This bold experiment from director Elliot Conrad roars beyond the limits of plot creating an indelible portrait of a friendship and a marriage ramming into one other.
Before Lee arrives, Monty takes out his stash of drugs, hidden in a basket on a bookshelf. It’s a healthy supply of pills and weed and psychedelics, all of which will be consumed over the course of three days. Lee arrives, an overweight mess of a man-child who can’t make it up the stairs before asking if he can smoke in the house, and whether they have air-conditioning. “It’s not even hot,” Monty replies, already frustrated. And if Monty can’t handle his buddy, Virginia certainly won’t be able to. Though she tries to stay away as much as possible, there are inevitable interactions. Like when Virginia cooks them a nice meatball dinner only to have it ruined by the sloppy antics of the house guest, and by Monty who is clearly on the side of his friend and not his wife. Indeed the hazy weekend puts their new marriage to the test, not that Monty can see that through his delirium.
When the drugs run out, they get more (the only other person in the film is a drug dealer who makes a home delivery). In a film full of strangely memorable scenes, this is one of the best, and sums it all up in an odd way: after getting high and dancing around, he delivers a spot-on appraisal of the men he’s serving: “You’re both very sad. In a sweet way. Disgusting, pathetic. But I like it.” In the end, “Gottlieb” is a rousing mix of high and low art. An extended passage read from a philosophical book is followed by a fart. Drugged-out tomfoolery is scored with an elegant piece of classical music. The film never makes it outside and just as well. The company inside is fascinating, and Conrad captures the altered states in invigorating ways. (57 minutes). Directed by Elliot Conrad. Starring Georgia Warner, Lash Dooley, and Shayne Kennon.