Treasure Island

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Scott King

REVIEWED: 03-29-99

During WWII, a corpse was dressed in a British uniform and thrown off a boat with a briefcase full of disinformation handcuffed to its wrist. Treasure Island uses that counterintelligence ploy as a jumping-off point for a story of psychosexual tension and swirling weirdness that escalates to surreal proportions. Two cryptographers become obsessed with the corpse that won't stay dead as it bedevils them during their off hours and taunts their sex lives with its androgynous appeal. With meticulous attention to period detail and crisp black-and-white cinematography, it sometimes calls to mind a somewhat more artful version of a low-budget Republic Studios film from the Forties. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the way through the film, the story gets even more convoluted, the characters more twisted, and the film sags and ultimately collapses under the weight of its own pretensions.

--Jerry Renshaw

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