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Jonathan Rhys Meyers,
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Divorced business-bitch Senga Wilson grudgingly drives daughter Nathalie 'Nat' home after a visit to her dad, far away. During a rest-stop, Nat sneaks out with a friend and joins a weird truck-nomadic hippie-like sort of cult, which Senga tails. Its 'father' uses drugs and sex to bind everyone to his bloodthirsty scheme. When Bradford PD detective Ned Stephens investigates, Nat's dad assures him she's safe with him and Senga is pathologically disturbed. Nightmares blur who is imagining or lying what. Written by
The involvement of Johnathan Rhys-Meyers and Madeline Stowe made me interested in seeing Pulse/Octane. For the first part of the movie I was rewarded with cool photography, a nightmarish tone and the increasingly complex portrayal of a messed up mother-daughter dynamic. I began to get excited about what was to come as I was reminded of great classics like The Hunger, Aliens or Near Dark. Unfortunately, this potential never came to fruition.
What begins as an examination of a mother's will to protect her petulant daughter from herself soon decays into just another "B" horror movie full of clichés and buffoonish action. Shifting the perspective from Stow's character to the daughter's (Micha Barton) removes all weight and tension from the story since Barton's character is as fluffy and foolish as any MTV V-Jay. Why should we root for the mother when the heroin-chic daughter would so obviously be more happy partying with Bijou Phillips' vacuous hitchhiker?
Jonathan Rhys Meyers uses his trademark sensuality to good effect here, but his character, "The Father," is given such short-shrift that he never becomes more than a caricature. Still, if he is some kind of symbol for wanton lasciviousness, it looks so good on him one roots for Barton to accept his advances and ditch her mother's increasingly silly attempts to save her.
Movies like this are really irritating because of what they could have been with a bit more vision on the part of the writer and director. I'm sure Stowe and Rhys-Meyers saw the potential in the script and were then disappointed. For me, Pulse/Octane is one that got away...
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