Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Powder (1995)

Corny, melodramatic turd about a telekinetic albino teenager that changes the lives of several small-town Texas folk. Sean Patrick Flanery (yes, Connor MacManus) plays the titular Powder, nicknamed such for his chalk-white skin, who has an undefinable relationship with electricity due to his mother being struck by lightning on the night of his birth. He is discovered after the grandparents that raised him die, and is taken in by sympathetic shrink Mary Steenburgen and ornery sheriff Lance Henriksen, both as wasted as an anorexic's dinner. He enrolls in high school, providing us with some terribly cliched mid-90's outcast teen drama. It is there where he meets the only person who understands him, a physics teacher played by Jeff Goldblum, who is the only actor not on autopilot; some of his line-readings were so humorous, it made it worse just to be reminded how tepid the movie that surrounded him was. Bullying, crying, and special-effect reaction shots persist, and the movie ends on a pathetic note with several main characters crying in a field. The real tragedy of the film is Flanery's performance. There is little in his demeanor or speech to suggest the vanity of a cover boy that he, ostensibly, was at the time. However, he remains a very good-looking, and physically comfortable lad, and no amount of white make-up, visible inner turmoil, or sympathetic gestures can hide that. He is trapped by a script that relegates him to a cliched, Rain Man-esque savant, but he is not able to immerse himself fully enough to the role for us to want to dredge through the snow to get to the cabin. Perhaps the film would've played better with a more freaky, unknown actor in the lead, but who knows; as is, Goldblum's the best actor of the bunch.

Skip it, save for Sean Patrick Flanery fans who wanna see the guy look like a Stranger from Dark City. Personally, I'd take Boondock 2 again, even with his fucked up face.

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