The Young Poisoner's Handbook (1996)

I may have laughed twice in this supposed black comedy about a 
suburban London lad who conducted chemistry experiments on his 
friends and family in the late '60's.  Based on one of Britain's 
most notorious true crime stories, Graham Young (Hugh O'Conor, who 
played the young Christy Brown in MY LEFT FOOT) fatally poisoned 
his step-mum.  He was sent to a mental institution, where he was 
supposedly rehabilitated, until the young sociopath was caught, 
again, this time "preparing the tea" for his co-workers at an 
optical lab.  As directed (and co-written) by first-timer Benjamin 
Ross, THE YOUNG POISONER'S HANDBOOK is a meticulous study in 
detail.  We watch, patiently, as Mr. Young varies the dosage of 
thallium, a "heavy metal" more toxic than anything Black Sabbath 
was creating at the time.  He carefully charts the progress of his 
various subjects, noting when they begin exhibiting such symptoms 
as vomiting or hair loss.  The whole story is rendered in a very 
cold and calculated fashion that, I suppose, might be amusing to 
prospective science students.  (Rated "R"/99 min.)

Grade: C

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted in triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: July 7, 1996

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