Film Scouts and Newsweek at Sundance 1999

Treasure Island


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Treasure Island is an astonishing film that both challenges viewers and satiates sensibilities. A psychosexual black comedy about two war strategists set on San Francisco's Treasure Island naval base during World War II, it is part period piece, part experimental narrative, incorporating knowledge and ambition into an insanely original and expertly crafted film.

Inspired by an actual counterintelligence ploy by two British officers, the film recreates the event around two American cryptographers, who have a dead body they are going to drop off the coast of Japan before the invasion. To make their body convincing, they plan to write letters to and from him, so the Japanese army will think he is a real person. As they write the letters, they begin to reveal things about their own lives and repressed desires. But the body resents this imposition on his personality and starts invading their lives and memories, bringing them face to face with the horrors of self-awareness. Exploring both the psychology of the individual and the sociology of an era, the film is meticulously designed to capture a time locked in memory and investigate the possibility that perceptions about history and ourselves are inaccurate.

Treasure Island employs unconventional storytelling to make the audience actively work to comprehend it while simultaneously reveling in its magnificence and humor. Scott King elicits on-the-mark performances from the entire cast and with this one film, firmly establishes himself as a passionately inventive filmmaker.

- Trevor Groth

Directed by: Scott King
Written by: Scott King
Starring: Lance Baker, Nick Offerman, Jonah Blechman, Susie Nakamura, Stephanie Ittelson, Daisy Hall
Produced by: Adrienne Gruben
Original Music by: Chris Anderson


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