Three intercut stories about outsiders, sex and violence. In "Hero," Richie, at age 7, kills his father and flies away. After the event, a documentary in cheesy lurid colors asks what ... See full summary »
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Three intercut stories about outsiders, sex and violence. In "Hero," Richie, at age 7, kills his father and flies away. After the event, a documentary in cheesy lurid colors asks what Richie was like and what led up to the shooting. In the black and white "Horror," a scientist isolates the elixir of human sexuality, drinks it, and becomes a festering, contagious murderer; a female colleague who loves him tries to help, to her peril. In "Homo," a prisoner in Fontenal prison is drawn to an inmate whom he knew some years before, at Baton juvenile institute, and whose humiliations he witnessed. This story is told in dim light, except for the bright flashbacks. Written by
Todd Haynes' Poison is three movies in one. Word to the wise, though: When your movie is only 85 minutes, maybe splitting it into thirds ain't such a hot idea. What you're left with is just an anthology of unrelated short films.
"Hero" is about a strange seven-year-old boy who murders his father and then flees; "Homo" is about (surprise!) a relationship between fellow prisoners; "Horror" is about a whiz-kid scientists who somehow drinks a potion containing the human sex drive - and inexplicably turns into a murderous leper.
None of these sounds like a "normal" movie, and that's all well and good. "Hero" is shown in documentary style, trying to lend an air of authenticity to the story. "Horror" is told in fifties' sci-fi style, with the usual theme of "science run amuck." Each is very well filmed; with "Homo," a real lurid atmosphere is created. You can almost feel the actors breathing on you.
That's about it as far as positives go. "Horror" might have worked if it had been played as a parody of those old films. Instead, it took itself completely seriously; instead of mocking, it was mockable. And to tell the truth, I wasn't the least bit interested in the characters of either of the three stories.
Some may look at this as fine independent film-making. All I see is a tortured, inescapably dull undertaking.
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