Mike Waters (River Phoenix) is a narcoleptic male prostitute prone to falling asleep at stressful moments and desperately in love with his hustler friend Scott Favor (Keanu Reeves).
Together they leave Idaho and roam the American countryside searching for Mike’s mother. For Scott, the journey is a means of rebelling against his affluent background, but, for Mike, it is a (doomed) quest for love in a hostile environment from which he can never escape.
Using hallucinatory dream sequences, cinéma vérité confessions with male hustlers, artful sexual posing and impressionistic effects to hammer home the disturbed state of Mike’s mind, director Gus Van Sant also manages to extract a mould-breaking performance from Keanu Reeves.
Audacious, controversial, directional, important and totally unique, you’ll either love it or hate it.
Gus Van Sant