Director: Todd Haynes
Year Released: 1991
Haynes is most certainly one of our most creative directors around, making his first picture being based on the life of anorexic Karen Carpenter with little toy dolls and later creating a twisted modern allegory about sickness, Safe (which was lauded as an underground classic). Poison is also well regarded critically, but I can't find myself, despite my interest in his "avant-garde" approach to the story (three separate stories shot three different ways), recommending it. His taking of three thematically similar but also different storylines - one an intentionally campy sci-fi film (titled "Horror" about a scientist who injects a new serum he created and becomes a monster, another about a homosexual in prison ("Homo") and a third about a boy who kills his abusive father ("Hero") - and cutting back and forth between them is intriguing in a pre-Tarantinoesque way, but I never felt like he is completely successful in merging the divergent storylines into a cohesive whole - the storylines are just set up but never really anywhere or are "completed" in any satisfactory way ("Where's the closure?" I was thinking). Poison is supposed to be an examination of what it means to be different and alienated, but the film never goes beyond the thesis to produce any relevant argument. Visually intriguing and different - it's wonderful to see something transgressive for a change - but not quite as compelling as it should have been.