Thursday, October 9, 2008

"Clampham Junction" (Film Review)

"Clapham Junction", which originally aired on British television in 2007, is undoubtedly a provocative and disturbing drama about the lives of some gay men during less than two days in London. It traces the tragic consequences that ensued when their lives collide by design but also by happenstance.

Written by the acclaimed playwright Kevin Elyot, the approximately 100-minute film is unrelenting in its intensity of human entanglements, though it has some brief moments of comic relief. From a deceptive civil partnership ceremony to a heated dinner party, from gritty restrooms to raunchy clubs, five separate stories, embracing all generations and sexual maturity, are intricately woven into the complex fabric of modern day London. And the diversity of gay characters with unresolved fears--a closeted married man, a cynical writer, a naive teenager, two incommunicative newly weds, one unloved psychopath, just to name a few--reminds us that quiet desire, regardless of one's station in life, is often just a breath away from uncontrolled passion.

The film maintains a delicate, tense balance between the growing acceptance of gays in the larger society, as witnessed in political equality, consent, and civil partnerships, and higher media visibility—and the persistency of homophobia, particularly the more virulent strain of violence. The persistency of bigotry, the main theme of this film, is in turn, echoed by the secondary theme of internalized homophobia. Some gay men remain wedded to the past, unable to throw off the shackles of self-hatred that find their expression in horrific violence. The tight editing--cutting back and forth between middle-class pretensions and raw human emotions--heightens the horror of unspoken truths that runs throughout the film.

Viewers should be warned that "Clapham Junction" features graphic acts of criminality and aggressive sexual gratification. But that graphicness and displaced machismo just goes to show that intolerance breeds an unbroken cycle of unremitting hatred.

I recommend highly this film for mature audiences looking for a thought provoking experience that stimulates the senses and enrich the mind. Below is a brief trailer for this film. This trailer is suitable for all audiences.

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