Review of Powder Blue


Movie Review: "Powder Blue"

-- Rating: R (Sexual content, nudity, language, and some drug use)
Length: 106 minutes
Release Date: Oct. 15, 2009
Directed by: Timothy Linh Bui
Genre: Drama

In "Powder Blue," four Los Angeles citizens are inexplicably brought together by a series of unconnected events. These characters are an ex-convict, an ex-priest, a mortician, and a stripper. The film features an ensemble cast including the last film performance of Patrick Swayze. "Powder Blue" was written and directed by Timothy Linh Bui.

In the film, Velvet Larry (Patrick Swayze) is the owner of a strip club called Wild Velvet. Rose-Johnny (Jessica Biel) works at the club as a dancer with a young son in a coma. A young mortician, Qwerty Doolitle (Eddie Redmayne), falls in love with Rose-Johnny.

The head of a corporate crime organization, Randan (Kris Kristofferson), is also drawn into the mix. Randan has a former employee, Jack Doheny (Ray Liotta), who is revealed as Rose-Johnny's father. Other characters in the movie include a suicidal ex-priest Charlie (Forest Whitaker) and his friend, a transvestite prostitute named Lexus (Alejandr Romero). Chance events, loss, and tragedy bring all these people together.

The characters of "Powder Blue" can be analyzed in very interesting ways. For example, Rose-Johnny talks fast, uses coke, and likes to admire her image in the mirror. She also has a penchant for leaving her comatose son messages on the phone. Then there is Doheny, who is not exactly clean in the literal sense of the word, as he likes to walk around or ride the bus in a dirty suit. Doolitle the mortician has no luck finding a girlfriend and resorts to bonding with dead people. The priest, Charlie, is depressed and looking to hire somebody to murder him for $50,000.

The movie is bizarre but the characters at least have some resemblance to what happens in real life. Rose-Johnny, also known as Scarlet, seems to have the same problems that plague strippers all around the world. She has drug problems, is looking for love, and gets involved in shoddy deeds in order to take care of the treatment bills for her comatose son.

"Powder Blue," has been described by many people as complicated and very dramatic. The separate lives of the four characters slowly merge together as the movie progresses. However, it is clear that those who worked on its audio and video were up to the task. The director, Bui, did a great job with the visuals as can be seen in numerous scenes through the use of striking shadows.

There has been a lot of talk surrounding the role of Biel in "Powder Blue." As one of the major characters in the movie, it is interesting to note that she was cast in the role of a striptease dancer. Of course, this immediately drew comments from many movie fans that her nudity would be used to draw viewers to the film. Steven Soderbergh is quoted as mentioning his reluctance to use nudity in his movies, saying that placing well known actors and actresses in nude scenes was tantamount to making a documentary about the actors. Just like in "Striptease" where Demi Moore teases viewers before revealing her naked body later in the movie, Biel teases viewers for a good length of the movie and only reveals herself in the second half.

However, "Powder Blue" should not be remembered as the film where Biel shed her clothes; it has much more to offer viewers. In fact, the scene in question wasn't meant to be tantalizing, though it is not necessarily badly shot. It is just one among many other shots in the movie and was not meant to be the focal point.

The cast members are extremely talented and go to great lengths not to disappoint their fans. Many people will remember Swayze from "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost." The sexy Biel is well remembered from numerous appearances in films and television series including "7th Heaven," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "Blade: Trinity," and many other productions. Talented English actor Redmayne has been involved in a lot of theater productions and in movies, including "The Good Shepherd" and "Savage Grace." Whitaker, an American director, actor, and producer, has won several awards in the film industry. For example, he won an Academy Award for his electrifying portrayal of Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland." These and other cast members are the people who made "Powder Blue" successful.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars