Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So you know as well as anybody, my friends out there whom I cherish even though I don’t know you, that we watch some bad movies here at the FCU. Some of the bad movies we watch can actually be fun, and we only have to look to the left and see this distribution company, that being American World Pictures and their completely awful movie ‘Hyenas’ for an example of magical crap. Then there are bad movies which we can’t really rescue, no matter how hard we attempt to put a positive spin on it. Say like a movie centered on college girl sex / prostitution, that has virtually no college girl sex / prostitution, but does have a solid basis in Shakespearean sonnets. You see, we can’t do anything with that, this being the movie ‘A Pound of Flesh’ which is a term you may recognize from Willie Shake’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’. The only thing we can do for you here my friends, is to advise you to avoid it.

It all starts off well enough as we have this stylized sex sequence that’s actually hard enough that it might even give Cinemax some pause. This woman sexes up this dude, who we can’t see, then upset that he had done something or another grabs his shotgun, squeezes off a few in his direction then somehow shoots herself in the face. So I imagine there will be a mystery as to who this dude is, but not really since halfway through they will tell us. No mystery.

Next we meet languages professor Noah Melville (Malcolm McDowell) who will narrate for us the seamy events we were hoping to see in this movie. Noah, to help his students get through school, has enlisted them to work as call girls. Sort of. We don’t actually get to see any of this, but we do get to listen to Noah talk about it an awful lot. And the dead woman isn’t even one of his students so all of that rigmarole is neither here nor there for all intent and purpose. But all Noah really wants to do is furnish the world with Shakespearean scholars, and since college chicks are going to have sex anyway, they might as well do it for their own greater good. I guess. Even though I don’t think that’s what the story is really about.

Then there’s slovenly drunken cop Patrick Kelly (Angus Macfadyen) who is in this town working under tough cop Sgt. Ferraro (Elizabeth Rodriguez) and these two are

investigating this woman who has died by Shotgun to the Face. Their ‘investigation’ has led them to local rich dude Cameron Morris (Timothy Bottoms) who pretty much confesses to the crime, that is if a crime was committed. But I don’t think the story is really about any of that either.

Anyway, our old professor has an attractive young wife and a nine year old daughter. The drunken cop really doesn’t like the professor. He actually hates him. The Professor will have to be on the run… hell… I don’t know, but it has something to do with avoiding a pandering charge. Then it kind of ends. With the old professor steadily spouting off Shakespearean quotes. Kill me now.

True enough, at least in my worthless opinion, Tamar Simon Hoffs film ‘A Pound of Flesh’ that the young lady wrote and directed is not very good. But why isn’t it very good gosh darnit? It has a solid cast of veteran actors, and it certainly has higher production values than a lot of the films we’ve seen coming out of American World Pictures, but this movie seems to suffer from the crime of multiple split personalities. It opens with this lurid sex scene and considering this will be the last time you will see anything like that in this movie, it begs the question as to why it is even in there? As it turns out, this isn’t that kind of movie and outside of the fact that actress Ashley Wren Collins agreed to do it, the movie probably would’ve been better served not even having it in there. So it’s not a lurid sex movie but considering they hid the identity of the man in this opening scene, it must be mystery, but then we’re given his identity halfway through the film so the mystery is thrown out as well. Is it a relationship drama? No, not really. Is it about the drunk cop? No, not really. It could be some kind of modern allegory for some Shakespearean play that I’m unfamiliar with, considering all of the Shakespearean quotes Malcolm McDowell is spouting off in the background, but outside of the tragedy of actually watching this movie, I’m not too sure about that either. I can’t even tell you, with 100% certainty, who the main character is. I guess it’s Malcolm McDowell, but he’s more of a detached observer chronicling whatever it is we’re supposed to be watching. I am at a loss.

So what we have with ‘Pound of Flesh’ is a movie that has no true central theme, no real protagonist and no antagonist with basically a movie featuring a bunch of random players. Now if we wanted to get deep with you on the Willie Shake vibe, we could say this was a modern version of ‘As You Like it’ with all the players and their entrances and their exits with one man playing many parts. The professor is a husband, a father, a teacher, a mentor, a pimp, a fugitive and a story teller, all played out in the world’s stage as presented in this film, until the last scene ends his strange and eventful history. I could tell you this. Or I could tell you that ‘A Pound of Flesh’ sucked ass and if you lead off a movie with titties, you should probably overflow your movie with titties or just leave the titties out completely. Or I could tell you that instead.

Real Time Web