Desiree (aka The Chemist)

A Film By Any Other Name

by Curt Wiser

An inspired experimental chemist, wakes up in a New Orleans jail, accused of arson that's linked to an illegal drug-manufacturing ring

Ross Clarke

Ross Clarke

Running Time:
1h 33min


These days movies need to stand out, they must have that thing, whatever that element is that makes that movie unique, makes it something to watch out of the surplus of entertainment options we have.

The movie I am reviewing today, the crime thriller Desiree (aka The Chemist), is a good example of that.

This is the story of Eric Ashworth, played by Joseph Morgan (“The Originals (TV)”, “Casualty (TV)”), an experimental chemist who wakes up in a New Orleans jail, accused of arson that is linked to an illegal drug-manufacturing ring.

Suffering from Amnesia, Eric must piece together his past to find his missing girlfriend Desiree and fend off deathly threats from Walton Goggins (“Tomb Raider“, “The Hateful Eight“) as Blanc, a high stakes drug runner looking for payback.

So what sets Desiree apart from all the other mystery thrillers out there? What made this captivating to me was how Desiree looks and feels like a 50’s period piece, while it clearly was not. It took great collaboration between all departments to maintain this delicate balance.

The lush, contrast of earth tones lensed by cinematographer Pedro Luque, the seamless work of costume designer Dana Embree and the world around these characters created by production designer John Richoux. Of course, this all has to lead to the top.

Ross Clarke (“Skid Row”, “Heroes & Demons”) is the Writer/Director/Producer of Desiree, he clearly worked well with his team to create this single vision. The end result, Desiree is a gumbo-noir trip well worth taking.

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Ron Pearlman & Joseph Morgan in Desiree (aka The Chemist)

The acting in this movie is bold and delivered with genuine passion. There is nothing quite like watching top talent actors go head to head in scenes that challenge them to go places.


All of the cast lives up to this praise, Walton Goggins is brilliant as the heavy, the calm yet serious way he portrays this ruthless criminal is a perfect fit.


Joseph Morgan is more than convincing as this drug addict anti-hero. The performance of Ron Perlman (“Hellboy”, “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them“) as detective Anslinger is arresting and uncompromised. You know Ron Perlman, he has over 240 acting credits to date…. and for good reason.


The character of Anslinger is a second antagonist in a way, he is leaning on Eric to solve the case he is directly tied to. Perhaps the best form of chemistry in this movie is not done in Eric’s lab, but lives and breaths between the actors themselves. All of the leads work perfectly together here and it shows.


There are elements we see in all great storytelling, call backs, metaphor and subtle character building, Desiree has it all. This is not too surprising when you consider that the screenplay was adapted from the 2005 novel by Craig Clevenger entitled Dermaphoria.


Desiree is primarily a slow-burn mystery, so if you expect Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, you will be disappointed. But if that is your kind of thing, I feel Desiree is among the best of that sub genre. Desiree is now available on Amazon Prime, Digital and DVD from Vision Films.


Curt Wiser is the Writer/Director of Cam-Girl. It is no mystery that as an artist, he is happy to watch other people’s work and share them with the rest of the world. 


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