Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Paolo Barzman

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Paolo Barzman
In essence, the original Robert Louis Stevenson novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, was as much an examination of the nature of man as it was a social analysis, juxtaposing the repressed but culturally adherent Dr. Jekyll against his animalistic side, or id, Mr. Hyde. And, in a sense, this completely unnecessary and frequently laughable Canadian TV movie update stays true to that by acknowledging the core conflict at hand, only it branches out into the world of legalities and implies something ridiculous about the soul. Even better is that it does so with that glossy TV movie aesthetic, noted for unflattering lighting and ugly, confused cinematography that frames Dougray Scott as the titular doctor with little focus while the actor shakes, convulses and sneers his way through a role that didn't quite pan out as planned on paper. Seemingly, his animalistic side, as exposed through the generic "rare Amazonian flower," has a penchant for torturing hookers, which leads to a road of atonement involving his older buddy (Tom Skerritt) and a comely lawyer (Krista Bridges). She acts as an ersatz love interest whose initial horror turns to empathy when she inexplicably decides that Jekyll and Hyde are, in fact, two different men. There's even a court case sequence that breaks down the pros and cons of whether a flower-infected mad doctor should be held accountable for the actions of his alter ego that doesn't remotely resemble judicial reality. Somewhere in here is an interesting kernel of a thought about social judgment as a mode of identity actualization and perception of self, but it's mostly hidden by terrible writing, bad acting and an incoherent aesthetic. As expected, there are no special features. (Anchor Bay)