Film Review

The Poison Rose

You would think that a film noir headlined by John Travolta and Morgan Freeman would be a surefire winner or at least something moderately stimulating, but The Poison Rose is just a lazy, watered down, lethargic, empty, nonsensical and just plain fucking boring film. The first five minutes show the faintest beam of promise as we see hard-luck ex football pro turned private investigator Carson Phillips (Travolta) running away from vicious loan sharks while carrying his cat in a carrier. It’s a fun bit, followed by a nice opening credits sequence where he hits the road and drives it from Cali to his hometown in Texas to take on the case of a missing woman and for a hot second the film feels like it could actually go somewhere… and then it just viciously, thoroughly and embarrassingly flatlines. Travolta narrates the proceedings as if he’s in his nightgown and favourite La-Z-Boy chair about to nod off and who can blame him with a narrative this thin and scattered. The search for this girl leads him to a few of his old high school pals including a shady businessman (Freeman, barely raising a pulse) who owns half the town, a slightly corrupt sheriff (Robert Patrick) an ageing hipster (Peter Stormare) and an old flame (Famke Janssen) now wedded to Freeman’s sinister magnate. Brendan Fraser shows up to give quite possibly the weirdest performance of his career as a psychiatric “doctor” who looks like he could use a stay in the institution himself, garbling out his lines in a syrupy lisp under a dying combover and really looking like he’d rather be anywhere else. Now, this is one serious lineup of actors, like if this thing were made in the 90’s with a better script, director and when all these wonderful actors had more energy it could have maybe been something good, but they’ve squandered a dream cast on toilet water material, dumpster diving level production value and a story that is so clearly, derivatively, unapologetically DULL that I can’t let this review go by without a serious verbal lashing. There’s just no excuse for this kind of mediocrity in any echelon of film or art, it just rests somewhere between being dimly engaging and outright terrible and they’ve just limply thrown in the towel, and added an wet blanket overtop of it. There’s a scene where Travolta says “everything in moderation, including moderation.” One thing I could use in moderation, or simply not at all, are these uninspired, flaccid dicked, direct to video embarrassments of once great stars/actors. Piss poor excuse for entertainment.

-Nate Hill

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