Character arcs should be the fuel of every film that follows a certain logic and is enclosed in a specific genre. Unless we’re talking about Lynch, there should be a presentation of a conflict that’s resolved at a certain point of the narrative. In any case, logic should be part of whatever structure you put together for the script and its characters. Should, should, should.
Kyle Schadt’s Toxic Impulses is a questionable execution of an idea that we’ve probably seen before. A woman asks for help and gets it from the right guy. Mosley is a former detective and Zemira uses that specific part of the equation to get away with it. She’s a bank robber who needs to get rid of her… leader. Mosley just seems to be the right guy. Of course, they become romantically involved. So motivations in Toxic Impulses just keep changing.
The problem with the film is how those arcs keep getting restarted for some reason. Their evolution isn’t linear even if the film is. Zemira’s view of the whole situation is ambiguous and her character ends up being an inexplicable collection of drives and impulses that don’t allow for a complete understanding of what she’s looking for. Mosley, for some reason, jumps forward and back between what’s essentially the emotional feature of the plot, but then more characters enter the room and become involved as well. The third and final act, as logical as it seems in regards to the direction of the plot, is just a swift development for the sake of the film’s solution.
One almost wonders what kind of film they were going for, as some conflicts are definitely solved early on, and we’re presented with a crossroads that isn’t interesting. Yes, the film’s about Zemira. That’s undeniable. So, why make her such a morally corrupt character who keeps deciding things that follow an uncertain direction when it comes to what her character presents at first?
If you look at the image above, you will see a character from Toxic Impulses. But she isn’t the lead in the film. She’s easily the best performer in it and only shows up for a few minutes. When we talk about film, we should mention the best things about it, right? Helene Udy is impressive in the few scenes she’s in. The actress tilts the compass to her side and contributes with a dramatic and minimal performance that makes the film noteworthy sometimes.
Toxic Impulses is very well-shot. It looks great. The film’s edited with whatever the editor can do with the script. It feels like different movies put together with an idea in mind that isn’t well translated from paper to film. Nevertheless, there’s something notable in Schadt’s vision. He intends to be original and manages to stay in that mindset, even if it’s under the shadow of a script that isn’t helpful at all.