Saturday, July 7, 2007

Pretty Poison (1968, Noel Black)

" When a mentally disturbed young man tells a pretty girl that he's a secret agent, she believes him, and murder and mayhem ensue"

This is in my opinion one of the best plot summaries ever. As soon as I read it I was quick to rent the film and it did not disappoint at all. This is one quirky as hell and dark film. I loved almost every single minute.

Anthony Perkins plays young arsonist who is recently released from a mental asylum. He goes back to a normal life and working at a factory. One day during a break he notices a cute 17 year old cheerleader and decides to make her fall in love with him by pretending his a secret agent. I just felt like repeating this "secret agent" plot point because its that brilliant in my opinion. This film is mostly an hour of Anthony Perkins with a spy camera, running around, and talking in long detail about his life as a secret agent. It is truly a hysterical performance along with some hysterical dialogue. If you like some quirky Wes Anderson kind of dry humour, then you will love this part of the film.

However the later half quickly turns pitch dark as dead bodies begin to appear. This sudden wake up call to Perkins odd fantasies mixed in with how he reacts to the wake up call is also some pretty great stuff. His mental breakdown and nervous performance for the last half of the film is some very entertaining acting. All these aspects to the film also make up for some really tense scenes.

Once's all just some great stuff.

However, the film has one pretty damn great ending. It just sadly has a couple more. The film feels like the credits are about to roll but keeps on going. This shouldn't be a bad thing but the thing is every one of these "ending scenes" just keeps getting worse and worse and campier and campier. in the end you sorta wish the film could have just ended 10 minutes earlier while it was still ahead of it's game.

Other than the weak and campy ending the rest of the film is some oddball and quirky stuff. I love almost every single minute of it and Anthony Perkins once again delivers a solid performance that is worth checking out for sure.

- ***1/2

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