Powder Blue is one of the most depressingly bad movies ever made. Every decision -- from the screenplay to the acting to the visual palette -- is a cynical calculation based on an uncomfortable amalgam of several other much better movies. The characters are manipulated ciphers, their stories are emotional copycats, and the film is an ugly, wretched bit of sanctimony. Of course the film purports to be about finding hope in the unlikeliest places, but I found absolutely none, except when the credits started rolling.
The film is a sloppy pastiche of four portraits of depressed souls in dire circumstances. Jessica Biel plays a stripper who leaves sweet phone messages on her comatose young son's hospital room phone. Ick. She is essentially one of those indie-chic characters who talks fast, snorts coke, and talks nonsensical platitudes to herself in a mirror. Ray Liotta is a guy who walks around town in a dirty suit and rides the bus a lot. From what must be intended as a clumsy flashback (hard to tell, since the movie is so stylistically bankrupt), we know that he is dying, so that gives him license to be as morose as possible for the entire movie. Eddie Redmayne is a mortician who can't get a girlfriend so he bonds with dead people. He looks like he's 12 but is intended to be about 30 from the way the film has him act. Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker fills in the final quadrant, playing a character with absolutely no relation to the others, except for that he is depressed and wants to kill himself. Rather, he wants to give someone else $50,000 to shoot him in the heart. Why? Because it's quirky.
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