Then, there are artistic flourishes which completely remove the viewer from the documentary aesthetic it tries so hard to create. During more than one scene, the characters are seen snorting drugs and the director alters the film's soundtrack, which is supposed to emulate the character's high, but moves it completely out of the realm of documentary.
Then there is the dilemma of whacking through the thicket of accents, and I watch a lot of British TV and film. I am never one to protest reading subtitles, and I'll even take the time to look up cultural-specific witticisms, but Lad's amateur recording devices made it near impossible for the outsider to even decipher what was being said at times, much less extract any meaning from it.
Some scenes tended to go on forever, such as the amateur 'porn footage' that begins as amusingly playful, but drags on into tedium after five minutes or so.
It's commendable on a sheerly artistic level, thanks to director Michael Booth, but perhaps a little too impressed with itself, soaking in some of the bells and whistles of Apple's home filmmaking programs — a grainy filter here, a color drain there.
It does all this at the expense of character development. Too often, the film feels like outtakes from a film, with various seedy sorts mingling without purpose or direction. And while the actors involved are all first-timers, they fail to pull off the naturalism that is required for a film that is supposed to appear more real than a staged theatrical picture.
Director Booth has obviously paid attention in film class when they covered the chapter on visual effects, but must have dozed off during the lecture on character. This is one Diary that perhaps should have remained under lock and key.