3 Needles (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

3 Needles (2006)



Critic Consensus: In getting its message about the AIDS epidemic across, the film unfortunately sacrifices story and character.

Movie Info

"Three Needles" is a drama that visits rural China, a plantation in South Africa, and Montreal's porn industry, to tell three separate yet universal stories, rooted to struggles with the HIV pandemic. In China, Ping is a pregnant young woman running a black market blood collection scam that creates a mini epidemic in a rural village. In Montreal, Denys is a porn actor hiding his positive HIV status in order to continue working and supporting his mother--who herself goes to extreme lengths to provide for the family's future. And, in Africa, Sister Clara is a young novice nun, driven to convert the rapidly dying Africans to Catholicism before it's too late; she makes a desperate bargain with a corrupt plantation owner to help prevent the spread of HIV in the region, bringing two nuns, who are of her same order, to accompany her on the journey.more
Rating: R (adult situations)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Thom Fitzgerald
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 3, 2007
Wolfe Releasing - Official Site


Lucy Liu
as Jin Ping
Mabel Adams
as Nahmnru
Isabelle Cyr
as Canadian Health Care...
Wentahawi Dionne-Eli...
as Native Porn Actress
Thierry Fargeau
as Porn Cinematographer
Gary Farmer
as Olive's Date
Jessie Gabe
as Waitress
Simone-Elise Girard
as Porn Actress
Thantokazi Guili
as Klipikwela
Chin Han Ng
as Soldier Xuan
Roc LaFortune
as Porn Director
Li Li
as Walla sounds (voice)
Siv Mbelu
as Bongile
William Mtakati
as Fater Dahmnu
Ian Roberts
as Hallyday
Ian Sternthal
as Bug Chaser
Akarin Tungboriboonk...
as Provincial Represent...
Chin Han
as Soldier Xuan
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for 3 Needles

Critic Reviews for 3 Needles

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (17)

The situations are contrived, the ironies are cheap, and the dialogue is overly blunt.

Full Review… | December 2, 2006
AV Club
Top Critic

If nothing else, [director Thom] Fitzgerald has demonstrated how huge a challenge the AIDS epidemic is on a worldwide scale, and how it will take a concerted, intelligent effort to solve it. It'll take a lot more than throwing money around.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Only the African story feels complete, while the Chinese story is gloomily hopeless and the Montreal story is just a bad idea. 3 Needles is not about AIDS; it's about the exploitation of it.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Broad in scope and at times visually stunning, [director Thom] Fitzgerald's project is ambitious but lacks cohesion.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It's hard to know what exactly the movie means with a lot of the choices it makes, even if, ultimately, it means well.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Though not as coherent as it might be, 3 Needles, with its stunning cinematography by Thomas M. Harting, is never less than engaging and suggests powerfully the myriad reasons why AIDS, after a quarter of a century, remains so difficult to combat.

Full Review… | November 30, 2006
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for 3 Needles


[font=Century Gothic]A few years previously, writer-director Thom Fitzgerald made a film, "The Event," about a man dying of AIDS in New York City. With his latest film, "3 Needles," he brings a global perspective to the edidemic in three segments:[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Fortitude of the Buddha" - In southern China, Jin(Lucy Liu), a very pregnant blood smuggler, sets up a blood donation unit in a village to pay locals $5 apiece for their blood. A poor farmer, Tong Sam(Tanabadee Chokpikultong), is too sick to give but he volunteers his 11-year old daughter, Qi(Yotaka Cheukaew), instead.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Passion of the Christ" - In Montreal, a porn star, Denys(Shawn Ashmore), is faking his HIV blood tests with his invalid father's(Aubert Pallascio) blood. Eventually his ruse is discovered.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Innocence of the Pagans" - In Africa, three nuns(Olympia Dukakis, Sandra Oh and Chloe Sevigny) arrive not to care for the large amount people suffering from AIDS, but to proselytize.(Thus, explaining why missionaries are some of my least favorite people.)[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"3 Needles" is an ambitious movie that is occasionally powerful and beautiful. Through an understated style with little dialogue, the movie tells three stories that do a good job of showing how AIDS can flourish through self-interest and exploitation but also a way of fighting it with activists united on a global scale. In the end, the people of the world need to communicate better with each other to improve the world we live in.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


I thought all 3 stories were done excellently. Stockard Channing broke my heart in her portrayal of the Mother who gave her all. I think Olympia Dukakis is one of the best, although not a personal favorite role.

My review back in 2007: Although this movie is filled with good actors, it falls very short of a captivating, inspiring, or intelligent story on the AIDS crisis.

I was not fan's of any of these actors or the director, but due to the story subject I was willing to give it a try. The best story was the intial full story ripped from the headlines about AIDS being passed onto innocent Chinese rural citizens. What I was surprised at was that they do not touch on the cover up.

After an initial sad, but very truthful story the movie goes quickly downhill from there. The second story is an idiotic and selfish story, that puts in a twist, but doesn't pay off and only is weird. I felt no sympathy for any of the characters in that second story.

The third story show's the writer and director's total misunderstanding of Catholic theology, nuns, and their views. Then essentially makes a saint out of a Nun who pimps herself out to a rich western business man for the sake of the dying AID's children to make her out as some saint. It ends up being a sad and idiotic moral to a very real crisis in Africa.

This story is not like Babel other than being a losely connected story in various countries. Babel shockingly showed human connection through pain, but this story instead shows nothing of the sort. Instead, it uses a very real crises as a backdrop to some interesting story telling and outright mischaracterization of a faith and promotion of some Unitarian feel good afterschool hogwash.

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