Well, most of the time I just go by my instinct to watch a movie without going by reviews, its storyline or star cast. Same way, I just bumped into the DVD of ‘Powder Blue’ with an ensemble cast, including the likes of Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker, and Jessica Biel.
Written and directed by Timothy Linh Bui, the film tells the story of four different individuals in parallel as they suffer their life with loneliness, and struggle to keep their lives together.
Charlie (Forest Whitaker) is an ex-clergyman with extreme suicidal tendencies after losing his wife in a car accident. Jack (Ray Liotta) is an ex-con who is recently diagnosed with cancer.
Among the other two: there is this twenty-something young mortician Qwerty (Eddie Redmayne) who very strangely gets asthma attack whenever he tries to talk to a woman. Then there is Rose (Jessica Biel), a stripper trying to overwork to pay the medical bills of her comatose son.
Well, all these characters are very well introduced and to some extent the director even managed to take us to the very essence of many struggling lives around us or within us. Irrespective of the bad press the film has so far garnered, as many reviewers and online media have only termed this as Jessica Biel’s topless movie, ‘Powder Blue’ can very well be summed up as an average film that could have been better with a tightly written script.
What could have been better in portrayal is an altogether different thing and probably another filmmaker may suggest the best, but whether or not the message or the core of the film is clear can be a subject of discussion. I, myself, found this very easy to understand, as I see each character is suffering from within only because of the absence of love and comfort. And the film ‘Powder Blue’ only tries to show a few sides of our possible effort in filling up that emptiness.
Everyone has problems in life. In answer to what we usually do when we face any difficult situation is that we eventually come close to people we love the most or tries to find someone who can give us hope and comfort. Even though initially it seems selfishness, eventually it binds us together in our pursuit of happiness and love by helping the other person. This, no more, remains a struggle of one.
So, here in the film, Jack attempts to reach to his daughter Rose in attempt to build a relationship out of nowhere; Qwerty tries to win the heart of a girl by meeting people; Charlie throws himself out almost to everyone in cry for help to find anyone who can help him end his life in exchange of a huge amount of money, and Rose is looking for someone who not only understands her problem but also loves her as a woman.
Yes, ‘Powder Blue’ could have been much better in terms of story and narration in suggesting in-depth commentary on life in general rather than any quick fix to some life-altering problems. We can see glances of issues many emotionally wounded people face in their lives in several situations, however, what action they do might be in question. In the film, the characterization does not have much depth to engage us for long.
‘Powder Blue’ – Four characters and their lives entwine in their journey to find themselves.
Starring: Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker, Jessica Biel, Eddie Redmayne, Alejandro Romero, Patrick Swayze, and Lisa Kudrow.
Directed & Screenplay by Timothy Linh Bui
Story by Timothy Linh Bui & Stephane Gauger
Cinematography by Jonathan Sela
Release Date/Year: May 8, 2009