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J. Andrew Keitch,
Harry is a 23-year-old former boy band idol who is watching his younger brother Max, 16, follow in his footsteps. Harry has detoured on his way to a Japanese concert tour to escort Max on a long-promised camping adventure. Their trip begins on a note of camaraderie but quickly turns serious as old wounds resurface, forcing them to come to terms with their dysfunctional past--Harry's drinking problems, his disconnection from the family, and, most of all, his relationship with Max and the emotional dependency that keeps them from moving into adulthood. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
(PLEASE NOTE THIS REVIEW IS BASED ON MORE THAN ONE VIEWING OF THE FILM)
(1) While 'good attempt' is an acceptable way in which to describe this film, there are definitely three words which better describe it: HONEST......FOOLISH......BRAVE. All three adjectives apply to the producers/director, but most certainly they apply to the two male leads (their futures in film likely are not now as assured as they might otherwise have been prior to undertaking these particular roles.....despite relatively accomplished performances). Also, it's important to say of this work that, while instances of incest have occurred in earlier films of various genres, this reviewer is unaware of any film script which has been as open or blatant in picturing such an ancient taboo (however, see paragraph 3, below).
(2) Much of the reaction to this film will, undoubtedly, be one of abhorrence. Yet can there be any question that the type of sibling love and sexual behavior exhibited here has occurred countless times throughout human history (whether there are those who like thinking so, or not). And whether that's been brother to brother, or sister to sister, it is behavior which has occurred, sometimes as a one-time or an infrequent event, other times most certainly for life. (At least it's not a behavior which can be claimed to "muddy the gene pool", such as a brother/sister relationship might). But (and here's a vital point) in incest, as in most homosexual events, at the end we are left with the question of who will admit to it. Surely we must all see that, throughout time, those who've railed the loudest, and behaved the most indignantly regarding homosexual behavior, very often were and are those who earlier on in their lives either took part in such behavior or possessed such feelings. Strong societal "norms", of course, force these individuals to, later on, express repellent feelings when confronted with such sexual behavior. Possibly, but perhaps in a much lesser number of instances, this might be just as true of incest behavior.
(3) To be completely objective about this film, there is, indeed, a fourth word which needs be applied to the work: FUDGED. Viewers will note that on several occasions the scriptwriters/director have "pulled back" from showing more complete scenes of the physical love that could have been expected to be taking place between these two brothers (how often did you, the viewer, see one or other pull back from physically responding when you knew that, in real life, there likely would have been no hesitation?). In other words, while it wouldn't have been necessary to go into porn mode, there were a number of instances of "talking the talk" but very little in the way of "walking the walk." In fact it might be said that there was more "directness" of physical behavior in the much more secondary relationship scene, involving Harry and a former Yoga instructor of Max's, than there was between the two leads. Too bad, for Harry and Max were really what this movie was supposed to be all about.
(NOTE that, in the Director/Leading Performers Commentary track for this film on DVD, the issue of there not being more sexual follow-through is 'spoken at' but never actually 'addressed' ---although actor, Cole Williams, does express his surprise that there had always seemed to be a "pulling back" from these activities, once they'd started)
(4) In the end and at the very least, however, this film has to be recognized as a "start" at being more open in showing and describing a behavior that is as old as man and woman.
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