Chlorine: A Tiresome Dramatic Comedy Made With Cliches

Chlorine: A Tiresome Dramatic Comedy Made With Cliches

Chlorine begins, perhaps a bit pompously, with a quote from William S. Burroughs — though the only affinity the film shares with the author of Naked Lunch is a haphazard approach to structure.

While the effect was probably not deliberate, Jay Alaimo's tiresome dramatic comedy often seems as if it were assembled using the cut-up technique favored by Burroughs and his beat contemporaries, in which clichés are thrown together and arbitrarily rearranged.

The premise alone suggests the extent of the screenplay's unoriginality: Roger Lent (Vincent D'Onofrio), an ineffectual banker long resigned to middle-class complacency, finds himself embroiled in an investment scam orchestrated by an unscrupulous colleague, who in fact conspires to fleece the community.


Directed by Jay Alaimo
Gravitas Ventures
Opens February 28
AMC Loews 19th Street East 6 (890 Broadway)

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Well, the ubiquity of greed may be a timeless theme, but hasn't the novelty of the Ponzi scheme been exhausted? Alaimo seems to have an unusually high tolerance for shopworn ideas, and Chlorine boasts no shortage of them: Roger's frumpy teenage daughter endures her first period in the style of an after-school special; his wife aspires to fit in with high society and makes a desperate show of embellishing her status; and his fashionably angst-ridden son, channeling Paul Dano in Little Miss Sunshine, reads Sun Tzu as he cultivates a budding anarchism. They exhibit not a glimmer of imagination or original thought among them.

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