It doesn’t matter what gender or sexuality you are, whether you are rich or poor, white or black, saint or sinner—AIDS can affect you. Writer/director of 3 Needles Thom Fitzgerald (The Event) assumes this unbiased perspective on the part of his audience and takes the issue a step further to show the devastating effects that AIDS has not just on the person who is infected, but on the people around him or her as well.
Telling three tales of very ordinary people in different parts of the world, the film first revolves around Jin Ping (Lucy Liu, Lucky Number Slevin), an illegal blood drawer who unwittingly puts an entire village in rural China in jeopardy. Following this is AIDS carrier Denys’s (Shawn Ashmore, X-Men: The Last Stand) story. A porn star who tricks his way through his blood tests, Denys’s secret eventually surfaces, and sets his mother Olive (Stockard Channing, Must Love Dogs) on an unusual path to help them both. Finally, we follow three nuns—Hilde (Olympia Dukakis, The Great New Wonderful), Clara (Chloë Sevigny, American Psycho) and Mary (Sandra Oh, TV’s Grey’s Anatomy)—on their mission to help the poor in an African village, and the harsh events and decisions that unfold as a result.
One problem with 3 Needles is that it drags in places. The first story especially trudges along in the beginning and we were left wondering after a while when things were going to get interesting. Despite this, however, there’s no doubt that each tale turns out to be inspiring, compelling, heart-breaking and even funny at times.
All the actors put in commendable performances, particularly Ashmore, who surprised us by displaying a subtle, yet effective, sense of uncertainty and insecurity. Even Singapore’s very own Ng Chin Han (Masters of the Sea), who has a small but important role, delivers in spades.
An interesting though sometimes slow movie, 3 Needles is definitely worth a watch.