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Powder (1995)

A movie directed by Victor Salva

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Not of This World

  • Dec 6, 2005
Many individuals feel like outcasts in this world--as if they're somehow "different" from the rest of humanity.

The central character of this movie is defintely an outcast. Called "Powder" because of his snow-white skin, this teenager was kept in his grandparent's basement his entire life. He is brought into the school system where kids ridicule, abuse, misunderstand, and even fear him. His science teacher (played by Jeff Goldblum) and the schoolmaster (played by Mary Steenburgen) discover that Powder can control electricity--and has profound wisdom and empathetic insight.

Powder is peaceful, tragic Christ-figure who is persecuted for being different and, perhaps, for being prophetic and "otherworldly" as well.

The ending is powerful and satisfying, especially given the gut-wrenching treatment that Powder endures. Some fascinating mystical themes in this movie include the transformation from the physical into pure spirit, the evolution of man, the capacity of Spirit, the power of love, and the archetypal metaphor of feeling "not of this world."

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Janet Boyer ()
Ranked #166
Author of The Back in Time Tarot BookandTarot in Reverse. Co-creator of theSnowlandDeck. Hall ofFame/ VineReviewer; Freelance Writer/Reviewer; Blogger; Professional Tarot Reader/Teacher; Lover … more
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For all its flaws,Powderis still worthwhile for attempting to be unique and well intentioned. The film's qualities were overshadowed after its 1995 release when it was revealed that writer-director Victor Salva had served 15 months in prison for molesting a child actor during production of the 1988 TV movieClownhouse. Controversy aside,Powderis a welcome step off the beaten path with sufficient strengths to balance its weaknesses. Fantasy and drama combine in the story of a teenager known as Powder for his snow-white skin. Powder is introduced into a tiny Texas community after spending his entire life in his grandparents' basement. He's a wise genius, but an outcast, alienated by those who misunderstand and fear him. When a schoolmaster (Mary Steenburgen) and science teacher (Jeff Goldblum) discover that Powder has a capacity for empathic insight and possesses the power to control electricity, the unusual boy becomes a tragic Christ-like figure--peaceful, prophetic, and perhaps too good to survive in the real world. In telling this heartfelt story,Powderstruggles to be all things to all viewers--equal partsE.T.andThe Elephant Man--which compromises its overall impact. But even though it's not a great movie, it sincerely tries to accomplish something original and wonderful, and that's more than most movies can claim.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Victor Salva
Screen Writer: Victor Salva
DVD Release Date: August 10, 1999
Runtime: 111 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Video
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"Not of This World"
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