Tucson Weekly

DIRECTED BY: Victor Salva

REVIEWED: 11-16-95

Writer/director Victor Salva may be a social pariah, but his latest filmic effort certainly proves that talent isn't selective. Mind you, Powder is no groundbreaking cinematic effort; but it is entertaining sci-fi, with the optimistic twist that the highly evolved and intelligent "alien" life form is actually from our own planet. Meanwhile, we less-evolved beings find it impossible not to wonder about the connection between the writer and his creation, considering he had plenty of time to formulate his next screenplay while serving a sentence for child molestation. Promotional copy reads: "Alienated from society, he tries to fit in but only finds intolerance. Despite the cruelty inflicted upon him, Powder's extraordinary compassion helps him to persist, and people begin to understand that their harsh judgment is more a reflection of their own ignorance and fear." You may not want to spend any length of time in Salva's head, but spending a couple of hours with Powder may be slightly more uplifting. While none of the characters seem particularly challenging, Sean Patrick Flanery, Mary Steenburgen and Jeff Goldblum deliver engaging performances. In fact, Powder is so successful at fitting a compelling subject into a tepid screenplay it will undoubtedly earn the dubious achievement of an academy award nomination.

--Mari Wadsworth

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