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Powder (1995)

Updated on April 25, 2015
Powder - Promotional Poster
Powder - Promotional Poster

The movie "Powder" has the atmosphere of an "X-Files" episode, but with a great deal more sentiment and sense of anguish. The film was directed by Christopher Nolan who would have to wait quite a long time to gain fame and notoriety.

An infant albino boy is born in a small town, with every disadvantage (even beyond his appearance). His mother dies while giving birth, and Powder's father blames him for the loss. We next see him as a teenager who has never been allowed (or never wanted) to venture out of the dark cellar of his grandparents' farm home. He is like a terrified animal, and it takes quite a bit of gentle coaxing by Mary Steenburgen (Jessie Caldwell) to encourage Powder to leave his habitat. All that Powder knows of the outside world is what he garnered from reading all the books available to him in the cellar. To put it more aptly, he didn't just read the books, he memorized them.

Sean Patrick Flanery as Powder
Sean Patrick Flanery as Powder
Mary Steenburgen as Jessie Caldwell
Mary Steenburgen as Jessie Caldwell

Lance Henriksen (Sheriff Doug Barnum) places Powder into a nearby school, where he is teased, ridiculed and tormented by his peers. At first it appears as if Powder is helpless in this disadvantageous situation, but in reality he is merely tolerating it. After demonstrating his ability to bring a fatally shot deer back to life, the locals look upon Powder with even a greater sense of fear.

Besides Steenburgen, Powder also impresses science teacher Jeff Goldblum (Donald Ripley) who recognizes in his student an extraordinary IQ and a unique control over electromagnetic energy. But, the belligerence of the students (as well as their parents) convinces Powder he must leave, which he does, returning to the cellar of his dead grandparents. Other than Steenburgen and Goldblum, no one else is open to the possibility that Powder is a conduit of supernatural abilities. Finally, Henriksen is won over and asks Powder to see if he can communicate with his wife who has been in a coma. Powder, in fact, is able to make contact with her unconscious mind, and he relays her final thoughts to Henricksen.

Lance Henriksen as Sheriff Doug Barnum
Lance Henriksen as Sheriff Doug Barnum
Jeff Goldblum as Donald Ripley
Jeff Goldblum as Donald Ripley

I cannot give away the finale, but unless you're made of cement, you'd find it difficult to walk away from this movie without a sense of the transcendent. The finale is made all the richer for a rousing beautifully scored musical climax by Jerry Goldsmith.

I never knew why this movie didn't receive the recognition it deserved, but I thought it was emotional, philosophical and gripping.

Movie Clip

Theme Music by Jerry Goldsmith

Powder Finale


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