Review by Sean Boelman
Directed by Tyler Chandler, Dosed is a new documentary exploring an unorthodox and not entirely accepted new form of treatment for the crisis of addiction. However, despite offering an inspiring tale of redemption at its core, the film becomes too caught up in its own politics to have the impact that it hopes.
The movie tells the story of a young addict as she struggles to overcome her addiction and depression with the help of microdoses of psychedelics. As counterintuitive as this idea may seem on paper, Chandler makes a compelling case for his argument, and ultimately leaves it up to the viewer to decide whether or not the risk is worth the reward.
The film’s subject, Adrianne, has a very compelling story, partially thanks to the way in which Chandler develops her. By discussing some of Adrianne’s life before she became an addict, Chandler emphasizes her humanity and the potential she had and has if she is able to recover. It is easy to root for an underdog story, and Chandler capitalizes on that.
Perhaps the thing that the movie is most effective at is at showing the taxing and repetitive nature of addiction. Anyone who has dealt with this disease, either personally or with a loved one, knows the excruciating process of someone trying to get unhooked. Unfortunately, there are painful relapses, and Chandler does an excellent job of capturing the agony of these moments.
However, the film also fails to acknowledge the ethical challenges of a documentary like this. By filming her process, Chandler and the team are putting an undue amount of pressure on the subject compared to what she would be experiencing if her process had not been captured for the whole world to see.
Arguably, with the simple act of recording her experiences, Chandler has altered the way in which Adrianne’s recovery occurs. In effect, the validity of any scientific arguments that could have been made as a result of studying Adrianne’s case can be rendered null, or at the very least, questionable. Audiences are left to question whether it is the treatment that helped Adrianne, or simply the added pressure for her to recover.
On a technical level, Chandler’s film is very effective. A majority of the movie takes the form of fly-on-the-wall footage, although it is necessary for Chandler to intervene at times. Admirably, Chandler does emphasize the controversial nature of what he is exploring and urges viewers not to try to replicate what they are seeing.
Tyler Chandler’s documentary Dosed has a lot of ethical implications that are never really explored, and as a result, the film’s impact is diminished. Still, as a look at a woman’s struggle and her support system, the film is compelling enough, and as a result, is worth a watch.
Dosed hits VOD on March 20.
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