Wow… Sometimes an amazing cast comes together for a hard hitting, gritty drama about the human condition with performances worthy of award nominations and praise… and other times an amazing cast gets together and does the best they can do with an incredibly heavy-handed, bleak for bleakness sake script that has clichés beating you in the face so often you feel like you just went up again Wanderlei Silva in “indie drama” form.
Everyone buzzed about this film when it was first about to come out, but the buzz wasn’t about how good the film was or anything legit like that. The entire internet community and entertainment news reports only talked about how this is the film that Jessica Biel gets naked in. That should have been a red flag when the only thing of note is one brief topless scene and the other red flag should have been its straight-to-DVD release, but I’m a glutton for punishment I guess.
The film centers on four incredibly depressing characters with incredibly shitty lives, that all intersect in Los Angeles. Wait, didn’t this happen before in “Crash?” Yes, but this time it’s not racism we’re dealing with, it’s a coked-out mom/stripper trying to save her sick son (Biel), a man desperate to die but too afraid of Hell to kill himself so he is constantly propositioning people to kill him (Whitaker), a cross dressing strip club owner (Swayze), a mortician who’s trying to keep his business afloat (Eddie Redmayne), and an ex-con trying to make his life right and come to terms with his estranged daughter (Liotta). It’s just too much clutter and too dramatic to be believable that all this would exist and even worse that somehow they would all connect.
From the very start when Whitaker sees a homeless man holding a sign that says “In need of a miracle,” the audience has just been bitch-slapped with the film’s over-bearing message. All these characters need a miracle and all these actors need one too, a better script. The best part is the cast, they all do the absolute best they can with some really over-the-top drama and I understand why each one thought their role would be a challenge. The way it’s shot is gritty and “Indie” looking and looks nice enough, but the dialogue and story are just too much.
This film is really something you could probably skip out on. It bites off more than it can chew, throws that up, and then proceeds to cram the overwhelming “drama” down the audience’s throat. Jessica Biel does get naked and the actors are all trying really hard in their roles, but that doesn’t make a movie good. Stay away from “Powder Blue.”
Grade D (only this good because of the cast)
Audio Commentary with Director