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Set in Northern Canada in a dystopian future GABRIEL GOODE, a doctor specializing in limb regeneration, travels from the decrepit metropolis of 'City' to the barren regions of the north. His assignment: heal the invalid daughter of a wealthy, but morally corrupt, water exporter. He arrives at the family's mining compound with his own past haunting him. There, Gabriel risks everything in order to confront his darkness and find his heart. Written by
The Limb Salesman is a science fiction love story written and directed by Anais Granofsky, whom you may know better as 'Lucy' from Degrassi Junior High.
It's always fun to write reviews of bad movies, and I feared that most films screened at the Toronto film festival would be of a certain caliber since they were clearly chosen by educated programming directors and screening committees. Lucky for me I forgot about one thing-- independent Canadian cinema.
First off, the movie is shot on video, so it has that great cheap made-in-my-basement Canadian feel to it. Not necessarily the best choice for a quasi-futuristic sci-fi romantic epic -it reeks of a final-year school project.
It takes place in a dystopian future that is part cybergrunge and part Victorian period piece. And since it's shot on video, it looks like what I imagine would happen if the Wachowski brothers directed an episode of Road to Avonlea (it even features Jackie Burroughs!)
The premise? Cellular regeneration and genetic engineering are blackmarket specials for the 'limb salesman' who is hired by an industrialist to give his stumpy daughter some real legs to walk around on. Meanwhile there is a subplot of a social uprising of the working class- miners that exist entirely offscreen. 'I just came from the mines,' explain characters, 'there's been a horrible accident of which you'll have to take my word!'
For a move that tries to take itself as seriously and as epic as The Matrix it is devoid of any and all special effects. The wardrobe looks like it was found entirely at a flea market or at Value Village and the whole thing is laced with horrible unnatural dialogue delivered in stiff, high school acting (fitting, I suppose, that it was directed by a Degrassi alumnus).
'Your day will come!' 'Are you finished?' 'Quite!'
It was all I could do to not roll my eyes every 5 minutes when another sci-fi cliché was introduced into the story, such as this beauty: The world's most expensive, precious commodity? You guessed it. Water. $100 shotglasses of the stuff are sipped with comically orgasmic effects. I guess the writers forgot to notice that they situated the entire movie in a house surrounded by fields and fields of waist-high snow. 'I long to see the ocean,' laments a character, clutching a tattered postcard of some tropical locale. 'I long for the credits to start rolling,' laments this moviegoer.
Doors are locked with thumb-print scanners, hybird computers (poorly ripped off from Gilliam's Brazil) and CD-ROMs comprise some of the 'futuristic' technology but for some reason people still listen to Victrolas.
This movie takes itself so seriously it is laughable. I only wish I could see it again as an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
Oh and the irony? Our regenerative specialist, the limb salesman (appropriately stupidly named Gabriel Goode), has a failing heart. Which of course is prime fodder for the all the romantic melodrama.
Steering clear of this one should be easy, as I can't imagine you'll ever see it in theaters. 1/ 10
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