Last night at Blockbuster, I had to choose between the above movie starring sexy Daniel Craig or one entitled "Saving Grace" on the influence of fundamentalists in brainwashing gays. Needless to say, considering this was Saturday night, I chose the former. Who would not want to see Craig in some undressed form? Have you seen him in the two latest James Bond flicks? Have you seen how he sizzles up the screen with his magnetism?
Alright, back to the movie. Craig plays Joe Scott, a washed-up Hollywood actor, originally from England. The movie opens with scenes of him engaged in an orgy of paid sex, drugs, and other acts of hedonism. Then the camera, ever so "subtly," pans to show Craig in all his glories. So gay and women fans will have an eyeful.
But soon tragic news arrives from back home. A boyhood friend has died in tragic circumstances. And Joe soon takes a path down memory lane. He recalls the pains, loneliness, and dysfunctionalism of his youth. This second act of the film is its core. But here the movie, trying to cover much ground, and too many details in its characterization, falls apart, somewhat. While young Joe's (played ably by Harry Eden of Oliver Twist fame) liaisons with girls are fairly well developed. the same cannot be said about those with his platonic friends. And that is a patent weakness of the flick. The dynamics of the relationships with the other boys explain in turn his tacit turn affairs with those girls.
The choice of the setting of this movie--a seaside community (actually somewhere in South Africa)--was brilliant. It afforded the director the ability to use all the tricks in the bag for his cinematography. Given the breathtaking vistas, there are lots of wide angle shots but also plenty of close ups of scenes that suggest, rather than explain. For example, at one point, young Joe is being seduced by an older woman. All we see for a few seconds is Joe's response, rather than the woman's advances.
The film ends with the third act, which is rather clumsily tacked onto the other two acts. Here we return to the present time. The adult Joe has to face his past. But much of this third act could have been further compressed, as some of its scenes seem so tangential to the development of the plot.
That said, I still enjoyed the movie. For gay men, this flick should remind us that our past, our family life, and the relationships we developed in those yesteryears, can either tragically or heroically, nurture our sense of self and our identity. That to me is what I took away from this film. And if all that did not work for you, consider Craig's rugged looks and admirable derriere as added incentives to spend that extravagant $2.99 plus tax (did you know Blockbuster just reduced rates?) to rent this movie per night. Enjoy the youtube trailer below.