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The Young Poisoner's Handbook


The Young Poisoner's Handbook

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This overlooked British black comedy recounts the brief, murderous life of Graham Young, a nice, bright English boy who became an obsessive and skilled poisoner, twice. As a young, introverted chemistry enthusiast, Young seems to hold in contempt everything not connected with the world of science, a belief given some support by the film's portrayal of a stiflingly boring post-war Britiain. After making guinea pigs of his family, he is sent to a hospital for the incurably insane, where he undergoes a rehabilitation destined to be short-lived. Hugh O'Connor plays Young with the sort of blank, clean expression that could be mistaken for innocence if his character weren't killing everyone around him. In fact, it isn't clear whether his bizarre search for the perfect method of poisoning isn't meant to seem innocent in its own way. Young seems not to feel remorse—not because he's evil, but simply because remorse, like most emotions, never occurs to him. Subtle, skillful and clever, The Young Poisoner's Handbook deserves a second life on video.