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|Index||17 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this movie at the LIGLFF Out at the Movies event last night. As
it happened, I liked it better than most. I thought it was a nice mood
piece, with good acting, and an involving story, for the most part. I
definitely would recommend it.
There were some flaws, though. The biggest one was the time changes. For very little apparent reason, we flash though about 9 years of the main character's lives, and yet they look exactly the same from beginning to end. They have the same hairstyles and have not seemed to age at all. It just seemed non-sensical to make a big deal about the passing of years and not have it impact at all on the appearance of the actors.
Also, other issues pop up that seem to have no relevance to the movie at all in the end, like the results of an HIV test.
While I did like it, I thought it was definitely way too long. It was not as if each yearly segment had some significant action attached to it. Sometimes they didn't. The movie sometimes lurched jarringly ahead a few years, seemingly without valid reason. Since the movie's outcome was obvious in the first half hour, it played out way too long. Still, I did find the characters involving.
As for the person who commented that they had never seen a gay crack addict, this film begins in the 90's. There were gay men who did crack. And not every gay man in this movie did drugs. In fact, the movie made that point quite clear. One of the 2 main characters tried it but did not like it. There was a definite validity to some of the drug culture the movie was referring to. I think more surprising to me was that the person in the movie who was very addicted still managed to hold his high-level job, without repercussions.
One more thing, I did love the soundtrack in this film. It totally matched the movie.
This film was not especially deep, however it was a bit of a melancholic art film that was an interesting look at the decade in the lives of 2 gay men.
It is what it is, and not all that much more.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm convinced that this is a very sincere production, but it left me
rather depressed and unsatisfied. It's the story of two lovers who are
followed through a period of like 10 years. Erik is a bit of a sullen
and insecure film-maker (who works with financial support of his father
forever on one project); Paul a more world wise and intelligent lawyer
who gets hooked on all kinds of drugs. While Paul slowly but
deliberately glides away from his lover into his own drugs-filled
universe, Erik desperately tries to hold on to what he sees as the love
of his life. We see them love and bicker, parting and coming together
again and endlessly talking to save the remains of their relationship,
until finally (and understandably) Erik gives-up. The end.
Both actors (Thure Lindhardt as Erik and Zachary Booth as Paul) do a fine job and are convincing enough. And the script may not give us an optimistic point of view but it's authentic and painfully realistic. My biggest problem though was, that I couldn't feel sympathy for either of both men. Paul is aloof, egotistical and doesn't seem to have any empathy; of course you know that his personality is marred by the abuse, but still you want to smack him for treating Erik so bad. On the other hand Erik is extremely passive and lets Paul walk all over him again and again. One important scene illustrates this poignantly: Paul (who had disappeared for yet another long period) suddenly calls Erik up and invites him to a hotel room, where he (heavily influenced by drugs) receives him but at the same time has an escort come over and has sex with this guy, with Erik sitting miserably next to the bed.
It didn't help (at least not me), that both men aren't really good- looking, which all the more made me wonder what they saw in each other to begin with anyway.
To sum it up: definitely good performances but a depressing experience.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Keep the Lights On' tells how the romance between two men is damaged by the drug addiction of one of them. It has the feel of a short made for film school that's been stretched beyond reason to feature-length, featuring lots of conversations that contain little of substance, lead nowhere and resolve nothing. And the conceit it takes place over several years is betrayed by the characters having the same hairstyles and clothes (including underwear!) at the end of the film as they had at the beginning. Not even the younger of the two men (who looks very much like Mrs Sting, Trudie Styler) getting his bum out every twenty minutes or so could save this turkey, I'm afraid.
This film tells the turbulent love story of a filmmaker and a drug
The storyline looks great on paper, but "Keep the Lights On" dos not manage to captivate our engage. The two leading characters are poorly developed, especially the drug addict as we don't see who they really are. We seldom see them outside their relationship, so their portrayal is so narrow and one dimensional. As a result, I don't find myself caring for them. Their dysfunctional interaction only annoys me. And there are too many unlikely plot details, I just don't understand how Erik could be allowed in the room while the boyfriend and another guy is having sex.
"Keep the Lights On" is well made, with great sets, lighting and scene composition. However the story is not engaging and I couldn't wait for it to end.
As others have pointed out here, there are good performances, and the
Dogma-style cinematography gives us the feeling that we're seeing some
serious fare. The story is not necessarily UNbelievable, but the
motivation of the characters seems missing, and ultimately, that's what
sinks the movie.
By missing motivation, I mean the love story itself. I saw the effects of the love story, but I felt like I never saw the actual love.
I saw nothing in Paul that would have really and truly held the interest of someone like Erik. I mean, really--are there any worldly gay men around who would not cut loose a crackhead attorney post haste? It's one thing for an artist like Rufus Wainwright to admit he was mainly attracted to straight heroin addicts. That's so f**ked up, it almost makes sense. But a European filmmaker obsessed with a white bread American lawyer?? Sorry. Not buying it.
That being said, there were some compelling scenes throughout. E.g., I was impressed with the hotel room scene, which felt real. And I'll admit, the movie held my interest enough that I wanted to see how it turned out. But the flaccid ending seemed consistent with everything preceding, making me feel a bit of a sucker.
Like I said. Better than average, but not by much.
You know what? I'm not interested in people who destroy their lives
with drugs. And I'm not interested in people who destroy their lives by
attaching themselves like leeches to people who are destroying their
lives with drugs. That's not tragic; that's not romantic; that's
In every case - the enabler-leeches just as much as the addicts - that kind of behavior is self-indulgent, narcissistic, and completely avoidable. I don't feel sorry for them any more than I feel sorry for billionaires who whine about having to pay taxes or for 21st-century hunter-gatherers who whine if we try take away their constitutionally-mandated 1000-round-per-second assault rifles.
That's what this profoundly disappointing movie is about: whining idiots whose lives are totally devoted to stupid, avoidable, totally unnecessary, self-indulgent, destructive behavior. This movie is not about love. It's not about what it means to be a gay man. It's about stupidity.
The problem is that it proclaims to the world that we gay men are self-centered, self-indulgent, drug-crazed idiots and the self-centered, self-indulgent idiot men who "love" them. Bullsh!t. There is no love ANYWHERE in this lying, infuriating movie. The gay men who gush about how REAL this movie is must be like the ones portrayed in it. Thank God I don't know any of them.
For the information of straight readers: gay men like the ones in this movie are a tiny, TINY, insignificant, completely negligible minority who do not in any way represent the community as a whole. The percentage of gay crack addicts is no greater than the percentage of straight crack addicts, and ALL of them are just as boring as the two in this movie are. Most gay men are just like straight men, except a little smarter and with better taste in sex partners.
The four stars are for Thure Lindhardt, a beautiful man in every way, who plays gay characters better than any gay actor I can think of. I first saw him in the Danish movie Broderskab (Brotherhood), in which his excellent, subtle performance was overshadowed by electrifying Swedish actor David Dencik in the most powerful portrayal of a gay man I've ever seen.
Lindhardt doesn't have such intense acting competition in this movie, so he shines more brightly. Although his character is a boring, infuriating fool, his performance is fantastic. Lindhardt is always worth watching, and - for me - he's the only reason this movie is.
Honestly this movie was one of the worst gay movies I've ever seen.
The audience was fidgeting for the whole length, I saw a few people go out in the middle of the movie and not come back. I personally stayed the whole time and I couldn't believe the abyssal emptiness of it.
2 main problems:
1/ The movie is supposed to cover 8 years (from 1998 to 2006) but everyone is wearing 2012 clothes and 2012 haircuts. Not just the people on the street - all the actors too. And in 8 years, they don't change clothes or haircuts or anything not even once. The guy starts and ends with the exact same shaggy beard. I know they probably shot the movie under 2 weeks but it would be nice if they made an effort to at least pretend they didn't. I'm not saying that just to be anal about it - but because it's one of the main things that kill the movie because even with the title cards warning you we've changed years their whole story seems to last 1 month, certainly not 8 years. Difficult to get emotionally involved.
2/ The drug. I didn't know it was a drug movie, but it is. It's closer to Trainspotting than to a gay romance. And I hated the casual way it's shown, as if all gay men smoked crack and it was normal. I've been around, and I've never seen ANYBODY smoke crack, ever. Not saying it doesn't exist but to play it like it's a normal occurrence is just stupid.
Then there are many other things: A guy who's in the closet, with a girlfriend... and 1 month later he's kissing his boyfriend in the street? And of course we saw nothing that showed his evolution. The problem just disappeared. There were definite pacing problems as well (the first 25 minutes, everything is happy-in-wonderland, and you're just shifting on your seat waiting for the movie to start).
The only saving point is that the actor playing the drug addict is incredibly good looking. Apart from that, you'd tell me the movie was sponsored by the American Family Association and the FRC, I wouldn't be surprised. it just plays into every single negative stereotype about gay people (save for the child molesting, I guess they didn't have the time).
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