I see Toxic being in many ways a comparable film to a Four Rooms. This is due to the fact that the stories told during the film, previously kept separate, gradually weave themselves into a cohesive narrative. The main character, Lucille (Charity Shea, â€œThe Best Yearsâ€) is the daughter of the owner of the titular bar, played by Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan). Lucille has just broken out of the mental institution which ey was originally confined, along with a similarly crazy doctor.
While it may be easy to feel bad for such an attractive character, the reasoning for Van Santâ€™s character to put Lucille in the sanitarium makes sense â€“ there is some sort of curse that has been placed on Lucille that will bring death and misfortune to anyone that may be close â€“ in fact, the killing spree that Lucille starts in on is comparable to the work of even the greatest serial killers. To rectify this situation, Van Sant sends two hit-men in Antoine (Danny Trejo, The Devilâ€™s Rejects) and Sid (Corey Large, Deep Rescue). The time-shifting style fo the film brings viewers further into the present, where Sid has broken free of Van Sant and has taken on a position at a strip club. While Sid canâ€™t be sure, the one stripper that ey is falling in love with is someone that looks remarkably like Lucille. Whether it really is Lucille is something that viewers will have to find out by purchasing the DVD, but suffice it to say, Toxic is an otherworldly, almost too â€œslickâ€ type of film that really updates the Quinton Tarentino style for the current period.
There is nothing in the way of bonus features here, besides some â€œcoming attractionsâ€ type of trailers. For my money, I would have liked to hear the reasoning for the very unique style of filming that director Alan Pao used here, along with some sort of commentary that would further explain and contextualize the events as they occurred in the film. While Paoâ€™s name may not exactly be the hottest commodity in Hollywood as of this point, the quirkness and odd but compelling style that comes forth during Toxic will garner an ever increasing fan base of Paoâ€™s work. Keep an eye on Pao, as I believe that the momentum that ey had during Toxic will rub off on the number of other features that are slated to be released by eir in the months and years to come.
Toxic (DVD) / 2008 The Weinstein Company / 92 Minutes / http://www.wensteinco.com /