After her New Zealand-released feature debut Crush, Alison Maclean moves to the US for this story of the endearingly guileless Fuckhead - - or FH (Billy Crudup) - - who drifts through a '70s underclass of hippies and petty criminals, describing his misdeeds with a faltering, drug-addled voice-over.
He recounts through flashback how, three years earlier, he'd fallen for slinky junkie Michelle (Morton). But FH succumbs to heroin and is bounced back and forth by the sundry oddballs he meets, including second-rate crook Wayne (Leary) and pill-popping orderly Georgie (Black). Finally, eccentric serial widow Mira (Hunter) helps him find some direction in life.
Crudup's hypnotic performance focuses the rather fragmented narrative, with the bittersweet and often hilarious proceedings played out against a backdrop of soiled beauty, comparable to Drugstore Cowboy or even Ratcatcher. Despite relentlessly piling on the pitiable incidents, Jesus' Son remains an offbeat, funny and moving drama.