The Bottom Line: "3 Needles in a vein, and a heart that's gone insane And a conscience full of nothing and a past that full of pain" ~Sargies Mum
This was an interesting tripartite centering on AIDS/HIV that spreads among three different cultures. This comes about mainly because of ignorance. Based in China, Montreal, and South Africa, 3Needles is a foreign film done with closed captioning. At least the captioning, for once, is easily read on a clean background instead of white words on a light background or busy background. It was written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald, nominated for 3 awards; winning one. It also received the US Academy Television Arts & Sciences Ribbon of Hope for excellence and commitment to AIDS/HIV awareness, education, and prevention.
There were several main characters in the movie but the names I recognized most were Stockard Channing, Olympia, Dukakis, Lucy Liu and Sandra Oh. Their parts were completely off their usual chart and entirely diverse. Dukakis, as well, narrated a good deal of the film, especially the segment in South Africa.
Overall the movie conveys a look of tragedy and defeat. It shows how an entire village in China contracts AIDS, simply through greed. Although, in this case, the greed is paltry in comparison; selling their blood for a meager $5.00 per donation. The blood, in turn, is sold on the black market for a much higher value. Testing is poorly done, resulting in the high rate of transmission of the virus.
They don't pull any punches on us either, letting us watch humans waste away from the disease and families torn apart; eventually all dying. There is a good bit of nudity in the movie as well, mainly in the S. African portion as the men go through their circumcision ceremony. Also included is some light porn, in the Montreal segment. In all, it is the diversity that makes the movie work. It could, however, be broken apart and still hold interest on the individual stories.
Surprisingly, no particular character carried the movie. Rather, it rode on the incessant wave of ignorance, poverty, bias, and irresponsibility on the part of all the participants. Even in the portions where Lucy Liu realizes that once again their tainted blood is causing problems, greed overcomes reality and marches onward.
As telling as the movie is, it would have held more impact if they would have developed each segment further, with more explanation or introduction, instead of just hitting us with vivid, blunt, scenes. Camera work, however, by Thomas Harting, gives us some breathtaking vistas in South Africa as well as thematic work in China. Overall, I rank this as a fairly decent production simply because of the subject matter.