Powder Review

Image for Powder

Young boy with strange powers becomes the subject of awe and prejudice in his hicksville home town.


With a release subjected to a delay of unfeasibly lengthy proportions, this quirky offering, something of a sleeper hit in the States, finally emerged on this side of the pond after a hibernation of almost a year. While by no means perfect, Salva's unusual and often fascinating tale is certainly worth the admission fee.

The title refers to Flanery's character, whose birth is violently punctuated by a bolt of lightning which strikes his mother as she struggles to the hospital. Time wheels forward to discover the teenage Powder in the cellar sanctuary of his grandparents' farmhouse - hairless, skin bone-white and possessed of some distinctly remarkable qualities. His subsequent impact on the small-minded hicksville, with townsfolk variously antagonistic or enthralled, provides the film's focus.

Salva's interest is the reaction of fear and prejudice towards anything (or anyone) different and unknown, but the racial intolerance commentary is tempered by an intriguing, X-Files flavour. This novel mixture really merits attention: the principal cast - Flanery labouring under incredibly effective make-up; Steenburgen's caring schoolteacher; Goldblum's well-worked quirky scientist routine; Lance Henriksen's brusque but just sheriff - delivers with conviction, and Salva grounds the story in personalities and emotion, effectively belying its sci-fi premise.

Quirky drama that packs an emotional punch as well as delivering on its sci-fi promise.