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3 Needles

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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$9.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 5 left in stock. Sold by Wolfe Releasing and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

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.


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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Chloë 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: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Afrikaans, English, French, Xhosa
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Wolfe Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 3, 2007
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MRA6XM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,524 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "3 Needles" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. E VINE VOICE on June 1, 2007
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
3 Needles is very compelling drama about 3 stories taken place in China, Africa, and Montreal(Canada). Even tough the three stories are not connected, but they all dealt with similar issues and human conditions such as sickness, health, temptation, unconditional love....

Three missionery nuns in Africa helping the locals by providing them with medical treatments. During their stay, they come across chaotic and dangerous situations. Chloe Sevigney is more striking and she has more screentime. Sandra Oh also has a few strong moments to work with. The rape scene was a bit too much to digest.

Stockard Channing plays a self-sacrificing and unconditional loving mother whose husband dies and finds out that her son is porn star and contracted the virus. She plots a life-insurance scheme and uses her son's blood to contract the virus. Canadian actor Shawn Ashmore(known for his X-Men role) gets to deliver one of the most memorable performances of the year. I must say that Channing's performance is totally "tearjerking"!

Finally, Lucy Lui was mesmerizing in her first exclusive Mandarin speaking role. She plays a blood collector and she's heavily pregnant. Her husband is dying and she's not healthy and the baby in her stomach is at risk. Her biggest moment was when she had to give birth by herself in a corn field. This role is nothing like her other American movie roles. In this segment, we also get to see former MuchMusic Diva Shoo Yin Lee playing an ailing farmer's wife. She's totally unregnizable without glamor makeup and don on the village costume. Too bad she had very little screentime and almost no lines.
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Format: DVD
"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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