xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
"Powder" has all of the elements of a successful fantasy, and none of the insights. It's a movie where intriguing ideas lie there on the screen, jumbled and unrealized. It leads up to bathos, not pathos, because not enough attention was paid to the underlying truth of the characters. They're all just pawns for the plot gimmicks.
The movie opens with a mother's death in childbirth, as the father disowns his newborn son, an albino. The youth, nicknamed Powder, grows up in the basement of his grandparents' home, reading every book he can get his hands on and remembering every word. By the time the grandparents are dead and the sheriff's department finds him down there, he knows everything in the books but nothing about the world.
An intriguing set-up, even if the pancake makeup on Powder (Sean Patrick Flanery) makes him look less like an albino than like a mime. But then the movie takes the first of many wrong steps, by sending him immediately to a reform school. Why? What has he done? Of course we get predictable scenes involving the school bullies, but after Powder performs a neat trick (magnetizing all the spoons in the dining room and creating a pyramid while mashed potatoes are still dripping from them), you'd think the bullies would take heed. Not a chance.
Everyone in this movie seems a little slow to catch on that Powder is really special. There is, for example, Duncan (Brandon Smith), the intolerant local deputy sheriff, a redneck who likes to shoot deer. The deer hardly feel a thing, he explains, but then Powder acts as a conduit to carry the deer's fear and suffering into the deputy, who is so transformed that he sells his gun collection - yet still plays the heavy, making things tough on Powder. To quote "Citizen Kane," there are some people who need more than one lesson.