Film Review: ‘The Poison Rose’

Telegraph - 05-25

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It is 1978 in the City of Angels and the hard-drinking washed-up sleuth Carson Phillips is having another boozy day through its atmospheric streets. There is a hint of innate coolness and self-deprecation in his elongated voiceover intro — you might even briefly mistake Carson, played by a one-note John Travolta, for a Philip Marlowe or Jake Gittes type. But “The Poison Rose,” an astonishingly listless neo-noir wannabe from director George Gallo (writer of 1988’s “Midnight Run”), is not the deliberately poor “Chinatown” imitation it starts off as — that could have been perversely daring, maybe even somewhat entertaining. It in fact becomes something a lot worse, when Carson heads to Galveston, Texas, in search of a missing person, at which point, viewers are taken hostage by this mix of mysterious exes, confusing accents, and desperately labored plotting.