Sunday, November 7, 2010
The Young Poisoner's Handbook (1995)
Benjamin Ross's gruesome but hilarious The Young Poisoner's Handbook is based on the true story of Graham Young. Played by Hugh O'Conor, Graham is a teenage genius whose fascination with chemistry doesn't bode well for those who rub him the wrong way. The movie's cast of cartoonish characters are as unlikeable as Graham, though not nearly as intelligent. Graham's awful family is a macabre parody of an ideal British 1960s household. A psychiatrist played by Antony Sher is the only character with any sign of subtlety or decency. In spite of its disturbing content, this fast paced film is filled with humorous juxtapositions and ironies. Still, The Young Poisoner's Handbook is, at the end of the day, a strangely believable portrait of cold madness.