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3 Needles (2007)

ChloŽ Sevigny , Lucy Liu , Thom Fitzgerald  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: ChloŽ Sevigny, Lucy Liu, Shawn Ashmore, Mabel Adams, Asckt
  • Directors: Thom Fitzgerald
  • Writers: Thom Fitzgerald
  • Producers: Thom Fitzgerald, Brad Horvath, Bryan Hofbauer, Mark Bennett, Michael Gleissner
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Afrikaans, English, French, Xhosa
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Wolfe Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 3, 2007
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MRA6XM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,631 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "3 Needles" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Good performances by an impressive cast, some beautiful cinematography, and a relatively light touch on a heavy subject (AIDS, which is never once mentioned by name) help make 3 Needles an absorbing, provocative viewing experience. Writer-director-producer Thom Fitzgerald's 2005 film assays a global view of the pandemic, similar to Traffic's approach to the drug trade and Babel's slant on the interconnectedness of human events 'round the world (although 3 Needles is considerably less affecting than those two efforts). Using five different languages (Afrikaans, Mandarin, Xhosa, French, and English), he take us to three continents. In China, a pregnant woman (Lucy Liu) pays peasants who donate their blood (which she then sells illegally), in the process starting an mini-scourge that virtually wipes out an entire village. In Montreal, a porn actor (Shawn Ashmore) cheats on a blood test; when his mother (an excellent Stockard Channing) discovers he's HIV positive, she's driven by outrageous fortune to react in some very strange and unpredictable ways. Finally, three nuns (an unlikely combo of Olympia Dukakis, Sandra Oh, and Chloe Sevigny) set out to save souls "condemned to purgatory" by their disease; but when Sister Clara (Sevigny), who's still a novice, tries to save actual lives as well, she makes a startling bargain with the devil to do it. While much of this is quite poignant, it's to the film's credit that little or none of it is handled with excessive sententiousness, self-pity, or tragedy for its own sake. Actually, there's a good deal of gentle humor, not to mention some absolutely gorgeous shots (including Montreal in autumn and the overall geography of the unnamed coastal African country where the final scenario takes place). And the ultimate message, delivered by Dukakis in voice-over, is hauntingly simple: "Why have we not joined together at last to fight this virus?" Bonus material includes interviews, deleted scenes, and a couple of AIDS documentaries. --Sam Graham

Product Description

In China, Ping (Lucy Liu) is a pregnant young woman running a black market blood collection scam that creates a mini-epidemic in a rural village. In Montreal, Denys (Shawn Ashmore) is a porn actor hiding his positive HIV status in order to continue working and supporting his mother (Stockard Channing), who herself goes to extreme lengths to provide for the family's future. And, in Africa, Sister Clara (Chlo Sevigny) is a young novice nun driven to convert the rapidly dying Africans to Catholicism before it's too late who makes a desperate bargain with a corrupt plantation owner to help prevent the spread of HIV in the region.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
"3 Needles" is a well-intentioned, serious-minded film from Canadian filmmaker Thom Fitzgerald. While Fitzgerald has a following from his previous efforts "The Hanging Garden" and "Blood Moon," this is by far his most ambitious project. He has lined up a first rate roster of talent including Stockard Channing, Lucy Lui, Sandra Oh, Olympia Dukakis, Chloe Sevigny and Shawn Ashmore. Telling three stories revolving around the worldwide AIDS epidemic, "3 Needles" was shown on the festival circuit as an interwoven piece (in the style of "Traffic" or "Babel"). However, after middling reviews, it was divided into three separate stories. Released in major cities for Oscar consideration, it was also shown simultaneously as a Showtime premiere.

The first segment, set in China, stars Lucy Lui as a pregnant woman trafficking in the black market blood business. In a small rural village, we see the repercussions as HIV contaminated blood affects the supply. The second segment stars Shawn Ashmore as a Canadian porn star. Needing money, he continues to work in the business even after he has been infected with HIV. Stockard Channing plays his mother with a very unorthodox way of providing for them after he has been exposed as a health risk. In the last third, Olympia Dukakis, Chloe Sevigny, and Sandra Oh play missionaries on assignment to help a hospital in Africa. They struggle to educate the local workers in facts, not superstitions, to help prevent the spread of the virus.

I admire the scope and the intent behind "3 Needles" very much. Obviously made as a "serious" film, I never think it's bad to use the film medium to educate on important matters. However, I felt "3 Needles" always kept me at arm's distance.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You Killed Me For Eight-Hundred Dollars" June 1, 2007
Thom Fitzgerald has created a haunting, near-perfect work. This piece is divided into three segments:

"The Fortitude of the Buddha":
A mere forty-five minutes in length, this is a potent vignette of a rural Chinese village soon ravaged by AIDS. Lucy Liu plays the role of Jin Ping, a blood smuggler. She travels from village to village collecting blood from its impoverished residents. Initially her presence in this small town is a boon. At five dollars a donation, the residents can purchase seed, livestock, and other agricultural necessities. But, this blessing soon turns dark. Perhaps most painful is watching Jin Ping's internal struggle ... she is aware that her practices are infecting innocent, economically challenged people but cannot stop because she is under the brutal control of her dying husband. The first of the three installments concludes on a quai-triumphant note. This segment is clever and educational. It can easily be viewed and understood by a young adult.

"The Passion of the Christ":
Set in Canada, this segment addresses the fundamental flaws in the adult entertainment industry. Shawn Ashmore (X-Men) plays Denys, an adult-film actor afflicted with AIDS. Young and living at home with his parents, Denys steals his dying father's blood to pass his mandatory AIDS screenings. This triggers an AIDS crisis within the film industry. Following his father's death, mother and AIDS-stricken son are left broke. The mother (Stockard Channing) purchases a life-insurance policy for herself and then begins seeking-out the virus for herself. The results are horrific to say the very least ... a bizarre expression of a mother's unconditional love (maybe!) The conclusion is the young actor being confronted by one of his victims.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3 NEEDLES as written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald (The Hanging Garden, The Wild Dogs, Blood Moon, Beefcake) is a powerful statement about the insidious spread of AIDS throughout the world, taking us to places we the viewers would rarely visit from the news media emphasis on the disease. The film is three stories in three countries told in tandem not unlike the technique so successfully used in BABEL, CRASH, and TRAFFIC. Employing cinematography of enormous talent and a cast of terrific actors, Fitzgerald manages to share his stories with such sensitivity that every viewer will feel involved in the tragedy that is rotting away our globe.

The film opens with a ceremony in Africa (supposedly South Africa) where young boys undergo ritualistic circumcision, learn the fighting tricks of manhood, and move into society as Men. This single portion of the film is intensely beautiful in its non-voyeuristic observation of an ages old ritual, so beautiful to watch that it calls for Pause/Replay! From Africa we go to rural China where Jin Ping (Lucy Liu, speaking Mandarin only) is the very pregnant force who runs an underground blood bank which while serving the donors with some cash also contaminates the population with HIV virus (we discover that Jin Ling is HIV positive, carrying a baby at risk, and supporting her HIV husband). The trials she encounters in her shady business are nothing to the moment of personal anguish when she delivers her baby without assistance in a cornfield.

Moving to Canada we meet Denys (Shawn Ashmore), a porn star who is HIV positive but steals blood from his ill father for his frequent 'tests' required by the porn director to hide his positive status in order to continue making porn movies to support his family.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great film
If you like good drama about serious issues this should be at the top of your list worth viewing.All the short stories could have stood alone as great performance s buy all the... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Jess Castillo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie Find!
We showcased this movie at our annual AIDS/HIV Awareness event and the vignettes worked wonderfully to describe how AIDS/HIV affects us all in many different walks of life.
Published 1 month ago by M. Pierson
2.0 out of 5 stars 3 NEEDLES
Published 3 months ago by charles leyrer
5.0 out of 5 stars jo jo baltimore
Very no nonsense account of how AIDS affects us all, 3 different stories from around the world! Some wonderful performances!
Published 5 months ago by jo jo from baltimore
5.0 out of 5 stars Must watch
Lucy was great in this film and right up to end I love this film . Not what I would buy but glad I did
Published 8 months ago by Kevin
1.0 out of 5 stars Simply Porn
This movie used the names of very talented actresses to sell a porn movie.
There were two segments that may have had something to share about the AIDS issue, the first... Read more
Published 13 months ago by GrannyNana
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad and Beautiful
An interesting view and story regarding the spread of HIV/AIDS. I became very immersed in each tale. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Carolyn Tate
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected by definitely a 5!!!
I don't know how this film got lost in the theatres, but it is definitely a 5. I expected something entirely different, but this one was PROFOUND, BEAUTIFUL, THOUGHT-PROVOKING and... Read more
Published on August 28, 2010 by PR GUY
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Knockdown, Drag Out Stories for Every Adult Viewer...
Each of the three stories could stand alone and be very meaningful, but together, they are more powerful than most of the AIDs related films I've seen. Read more
Published on January 15, 2010 by Kenneth A. Nelson
4.0 out of 5 stars Three difficult stories
Three sad but true stories that depict our world today. Aids, social injustice, and a little bit of us maybe in these stories. Read more
Published on October 15, 2009 by lewis sinclair
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