This film is based on a true story about a British teenager who allegedly poisoned family, friends, and co-workers. Graham is highly intelligent, but completely amoral. He becomes ...
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This film is based on a true story about a British teenager who allegedly poisoned family, friends, and co-workers. Graham is highly intelligent, but completely amoral. He becomes interested in science, especially chemistry, and begins to read avidly. Something of a social misfit, he is fascinated by morbid subjects such as poisons and murder. His family environment is intolerable to him and, in particular, his stepmother torments him. He decides to poison those who annoy him, first with antimony and later with thallium. He smugly thinks himself cleverer than all those around him, but nevertheless he is caught and sentenced to 'rehabilitation' at a psychiatric institution. Once there, he undertakes to deceive the new eminent psychiatrist sent there to 'cure' him, thereby securing his release. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
The "Newton's Diamond" that Graham is obsessed with is a fictional device. Antimony sulfide forms a crystal called stibnite which is gray and opaque, not clear and colorless like most gem-quality diamonds. "Diamond" was the name of Isaac Newton's dog. See more »
When Dr. Zeigler visits the institution for mentally unstable criminals in which Graham is hospitalized, the director of the institution says, referred to another patient: "Vulpes pilum mutat, non mores", saying it means "The leopard never changes his spots". Graham corrects him, saying it means instead: "The wolf changes its fur, but not its nature". Actually, "vulpes" means "fox". See more »
This is a remarkable story. When this film is gruesome, it's very very gruesome. And when it's brilliant, it's very very brilliant. And that is most of the time. The joy of the movie is strong supporting cast who react in quirky, British ways to Graham and the mysterious illnesses going around. O'Conor gives an intense but restrained portrayal of the troubled lad and provides some good skin shots as well. Sher is a convincing professional trying to salvage some good from the unpromising inhabitants of the hospital. The acting is witty throughout.
This movie, in my view, is a terrific dead-pan black comedy. The first and last thirds are marvelous and fascinating to watch. The middle, while Graham is in the asylum, gets a bit serious. Graham is taken on his own terms in the movie, utterly serious, utterly committed to his calling, tracking his doses, noting the effects, estimating the time of death for those he will finish out. He observes with a clinical detachment which is amusing and unsettling. He shows no remorse because he doesn't know what remorse is. Hugh O'Connor does a wonderful job as Graham. He looks like a choir boy with a sincere stare. This one will make you think but keep you well entertained nevertheless.
Overall rating: 9 out of 10.
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