Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Brass Teapot = Heartbeats Stop (The Brass Teapot movie review)

Note:  This is a review I originally posted  on Epinions.

Most people only see money as an issue if they don’t have enough.  John and Alice can only make the rent if their landlord, Arnie, waits to deposit the check.  They have one car, which Alice uses to go on an interview.  John takes a bike to a job trying to get people to extend their warranties.  He’s not very good at it and subsequently gets fired.

Enter the brass teapot that the title speaks of.  Alice sees an old woman take it into an antique shop shortly after she and John get into an accident.  She has no problem stealing it.  It isn’t until an accident with a curling iron that she realizes what the pot can do.  Each time the user feels pain, money appears in the teapot.  More pain yields more cash.  After getting fired, John comes home to find his house wrecked.  He’s worried for Alice, but she claims to have fallen down stairs that they don’t have.  She lets him in on the secret.  So begins the story.

John wants to return the teapot, but finds the antique shop closed and the property for rent.  Not having many other options, he at least takes it on Antiques Roadshow to get an opinion on what it is.  (The expert looking at it has never seen anything like it before.)  His appearance on TV catches the attention of two orthodox Jews who happen to be the grandchildren of the woman from whom Alice took the teapot.  They don’t want the teapot, per se.  They are, however, more than happy to take the money.  Still having the teapot, John and Alice can still hurt themselves and each other for more money.

The couple is later visited by Dr. Ling, who also saw John on Antiques Roadshow.  His family has been following the teapot for generations.  He informs John and Alice that the teapot was meant to be given.  Having stolen the teapot, the teapot will bring out the worst in them.  Their only hope is to give the teapot to him so that he might hide it where no one can find it.

The movie is very well done.  This is one of the reasons I’m happy I have access to Netflix streaming.  Alice and John feel that they are good people.  They believe that they can quit any time they want.  Dr. Ling confirms that they are, in essence, good people.  However, having stolen the teapot makes it nearly impossible for them to stop.  Many people compare the movie to The Twilight Zone, but I’d say it’s more like Warehouse 13 in that it deals with an item that brings trouble and should probably be locked away.

It starts with Alice burning herself, albeit mildly and accidentally.  He gets dental work “the old-fashioned way.”  She gets a full Brazilian wax.  They both get tattoos.  From there, it escalates to insulting each other and revealing secrets to inflict emotional damage.  Pretty soon, she’s kicking John where it hurts.  Physical pain no longer brings the reward it once did.  Alice again can up the game when she realizes that a skater’s pain brings in money.  She can visit a woman in labor to get lots of money.

Most people ask what they would do with a million dollars.  This movie explores what a couple would do to get a million.  Alice begins a somewhat rapid descent to becoming a sociopath.  It’s easy to sit there and think that you’d quit, but I think we all know that you’d probably be no better than Alice.  At least she had John as the voice of reason.

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