What You Need To Know:
A cynical, amoral story of aimless, alcoholic, existential self-indulgence, LUMINOUS MOTION is painful to watch and depressing in scope because it depicts wasted lives utterly devoid of the hope of God. Without hope or behavioral boundaries, Phillip goes from bad to worse in a downward spiraling series of sequences, which leave viewers, feeling empty, hopeless and violated. Some explicit sex, nudity, foul language, and occultism also pollute the movie
(HHH, PaPaPa, OO, L, V, SS, NN, AAA, DD, MM) Humanist, pagan worldview of a 10-year-old boy’s patricidal fantasies, with occult subthemes; 6 strong obscenities & 1 strong profanity; boy cuts man & boy attempts to poison two men; depicted fornication; upper female nudity; alcohol use, drunkenness & alcoholism; drug use; and, jealousy, stealing, juvenile delinquency, & prostitution.
Nominally an art house production, LUMINOUS MOTION is a poster piece for Promise Keepers by carefully depicting the lethal results of the absence of a father in the life of an otherwise smart, ambitious child. The movies shows the negative downward spiral of a dysfunctional single-parent household at its worst through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy obsessed with his prostitute mother and his own patricidal fantasies.
The movie begins inauspiciously, as a succession of half a dozen johns make lewd cracks about his mother to Phillip (Eric Lloyd) in the backseat. Phillip reads chemistry books to pass the time, since his mother does not let him attend school. The story spirals downward from there, as Mom (Deborah Kara Unger) takes her son from dingy motel room to dingy motel room, alternately abandoning and robbing the men she picks up in industrial town bars. She is a non-recovering alcoholic, drinking hard liquor with the johns she beds.
A crisis occurs when Phillip crashes the car because he wanted to drive 120 miles per hour. He then deliberately tries to poison the kindly carpenter who rescues the mother-son duo after the crash. He steals the carpenter’s tools and sells them on the street so that he and his mother can continue their road trip together. Viewers never learn whether Phillip actually killed the carpenter or not, because he reappears several times later as either a figment of Phillip’s overactive imagination or as a ghost.
Mom tries to settle down in a rented house on Staten Island, but finds her alcoholism overcomes her intention to find work. When Dad (James Sheridan), Phillip’s real father, shows up in a dreamy foreshadowed moment, Phillip conspires with two selfish teenage pseudo-Satanist friends to poison him. Dad survives, however, to take charge of Mom and Phillip’s lives and begins to discipline Phillip ever so slightly.
A cynical, amoral story of aimless, alcoholic, existential self-indulgence, LUMINOUS MOTION is painful to watch and nightmarish in feeling. Some explicit sex, nudity, foul language, and occultism also mar the movie. While its makers may brag about their mastery of existential foreshadowing, the almost total lack of moral cohesion makes this movie depressing to see.