The Delta (1996) Poster


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Pretty dull
preppy-330 March 2006
Story about handsome hunky Lincoln (Shayne Gray) who has a girlfriend and lots of great guy friends. He also likes having anonymous gay sex secretly. He meets John (Thang Chan) a Vietnamese gay guy--and things happen. Notice I didn't say interesting cause NOTHING interesting happens in this!

Slow, murky, dark and very uninteresting story about a destructive relationship. The low production values really hurt this. Also the story takes forever to get started...and ends up going nowhere! It just stops with no resolution at all. A lot of people seem to like this because Gray is so handsome. He IS handsome...but not much of an actor. I've seen worse but I've seen MUCH better. Chan was better than Gray but (understandably) seems unsure of how to play the character. Pretty dull too.

Slow, murky, unsatisfying. You can skip this one. I give it a 4...mostly for Gray's looks. Also why did Chan do a nude scene and Gray didn't?
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A dissertation by Shayne Gray
grayshaynem7 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I am Shayne Gray and I think that Ira (the Director) did a good job with this film...the problems came up when he had to switch editors at the last minute. The character "John" felt that he was not liked by African Americans (for being Vietnamese), Vietnamese (for being African American), or Society in general (for being gay). The anger and confusion of all that happened came to an amalgamation of emotions on the boat. If you listen closely to the beach scene..."john" says that his father was a black U.S. solder in the Vietnam War. The movie was made to look "grainy" and "dark" because that is the effect that living in "the south" and feeling like an outsider can sometimes make you feel. I am not gay, but I would like to consider myself an actor (we all are actors if you really think about it). Before the movie I was in a band called Techno-Squid Eats Parliament. I played the drums. I was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. I became an Eagle Scout at age 14. I have been in the Army National Guard (as a helicopter medic) and an Officer in the Naval Reserve (as an ICU Nurse). I meet the director when I stopped at a bar in Memphis to take a pee on my way back to Little Rock one night (in 2005). It just so happened to be a gay bar called J-Wags...I think. The lady that checked my ID at the door was a little drunk and she said "there's a guy in here that wants you to be in his film" and I said, "Yeah I have to wear a little pink bunny costume" and I walked away. The girl I was with gave a guy (Ira) her number and he called when I was at her apartment the very next day. I had just seen "My Own Private Idaho" and after reading the script I thought..."This is something that I think I could do, heck River Phoenix was brave enough to do it." Plus I needed money as I was planning on going back to college to finish my pre-requisites for Nursing School. It was fun doing the movie and the character that played "john" was actually very cool. For about 6 weeks I lived in Memphis with Tang, Ira, and the producer Margot (who also produced: Arresting Gena, Sidewalks of New York, Jesus' Son, and Ira's new film Forty Shade of Blue). I went to Sundance, San Francisco, and Boston for various film openings in 1996...I had also started nursing school at that time, and got married. I read for a few movies after The Delta. I tried out for A thin Red Line and I Know What You Did Last Summer. I got several offers to do other "gay films" that I turned down. A "big time" casting agent and another person from "New Line" showed some interest, too. I just had to focus on getting through nursing school. In 1999 I graduated with a BSN, RN from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2000 while working as an ICU nurse. In 2000 I took my (ex) wife to Paris, London, and Amsterdam on a three week vacation. The singer from my first band (Clay Bell) was living in Paris with his girlfriend at the time. After five years of marriage I got a divorce in 2001. I applied for Nurse Anesthesia School in Texas, but didn't get in. I went through some depression and got my nursing license placed on probation for 18 months (and got a General discharged from the Naval Reserve for being positive for marijuana on a random urine test). I played guitar, drums, and sang in various bands around Little Rock and went into Psych/Mental Health adolescent nursing (until I got my hand broken by a patient). In 2002 I started working in the E.R. and later switched over to being an Interventional Radiology nurse...where I eventually became the Nurse Manager of Radiology at UAMS. I got re-married on Halloween of 2002 to girl named Ginger (she too had been married once before and she was finishing up in Pharmacy School @ UAMS). I now have baby girl named Natalie and she is 2 years and 7 months old. We also have another baby girl that is due February 5, 2006 that we will name Sophie. We are having a new house built in a very nice neighborhood in Little Rock and it should be finished by February as well. I turned 33 years old on April 7, 2005. My new house will have a "music room" where I will write and record music. I also have several books of "random" writing that I plan on typing up and editing (I guess it would be considered modern contemporary poetry). My wife and I have been to New York twice this year and we took Natalie to see Niagara Falls in October. I would love to act in another movie or even do soundtracks for movies. I actually wrote a song called "forty Shades of Blue" for Ira's latest movie, but I never played it for him. I haven't even seen the movie yet. I do, however, have a steady job and a loving who could ask for anything more? Thanks for all of the compliments...
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Vietnamese here!
tranngocthanhtu7 October 2020
OMG i can't believe this John guy he talk an Engrish that i can clearly understand, and he look and act exactly like my gay friends in here, in Vietnam, the director did so good about that, i'm so glad to see a Vietnamese in a gay film, we did make some gay films here too but it too little... about this film, i can tell that why things happened in this film, prob it not a love story, just another lonely and sad one that make me feel so bad, it good itseft, but it just so.... realistic.
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bjudd15 June 1999
Warning: Spoilers
"The Delta" started off strong. It was a quiet little film about a boy immersed in the drug/booze world and also into the world of promiscuous gay sex and peep shows. Around 40 minutes into the movie it had not moved very fast, but I found it enjoyable because it seemed like a "slice of life" movie. It seemed to be shaped as an odd love story between this boy and a Vietnamese immigrant. However, the focus turned onto John in the last quarter and he all of a sudden kills a man and then the movie ends. If the statement of the film is about the dangers of the underground sex world, then it should have been made in the middle rather than at the end. The film leaves the viewer puzzled.

However, I was totally struck by Shayne Gray. I was quite disappointed that he has not done any other films. Not only is he one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen, he has tremendous acting talent. He played this character with ease, when it could have been played as a wuss by any other actor. Gray keeps the viewer's attention, even though his performance is quiet and often undetached. I cannot believe that this man has not been found--he is a tremendous talent and very good looking. I hope to see him in future projects.
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One good actor.
Hunky Stud29 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
I really like the main character. I don't know if his real life personality is same as the character that he performed in the movie. He shines throughout the film as a very adorable person. He is the main reason that I actually finished watching the entire film. :) I don't know why he hasn't done any other films. He can definitely be successful in the film industry. SPOILER The storyline is not very strong. And it is not very clear why the mixed Viet-black guy killed the guy that he picked up in a bar? Is this a movie about the impossible love between two guys?
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Sleepy, Dreamlike
brian-walsh9 January 2007
This movie provides a sleepy, dreamlike experience. The director shows you many places, relationships, and conflicts. He sets moods, but doesn't judge his characters. Refreshing enough. It's up to you as the viewer to determine how you feel about the people and their conflicts. And it's up to the viewer to decide how things end up because everything is not explained. There was a lot of heart in this film. Some of these reviews seem to miss that. Watch this on an overcast Sunday afternoon and fall in love with Shayne Gray and The Delta.

If you have time, watch it again with the Director's commentary. The director, Ira Sachs, shares a lot about himself and his experience making this film. He is very honest about what he was trying to achieve, the scenes with which he was pleased, and those with which he wasn't. I would like to see more of Ira Sachs's work.
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Very disappointing
gatorscot@aol.com15 January 2007
I had waited for this movie to come out on DVD for 10 years after missing it at the Tampa Gay Film Festival in 1996. What a disappointment. The summary notes are very misleading. This is a very dark movie with no plot and no character development. Writing, film quality, audio, acting and especially directing were simply horrible. I can see why none of the actors never did any other work...perhaps they would have performed better had they been given something remotely decent to work with. By the end of the film was I was yelling at myself for wasting 85 minutes of my life. This movie failed to provide any emotional attachment to any of the characters, whether good or bad. Do not waste your time with this movie.
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Interesting, but ends prematurely
JohninCA21 January 2007
I was into the movie as I watched it, all the while wondering where it was going. When it ended, I thought I had skipped about 30 minutes ahead, because it just seemed unfinished.

I thought the lead actor, Shayne Gray, was excellent in the part. I thought he was so natural and acted without any bit of effort. His responses, his actions, his emotions, all were very natural. I was sorry to see that this was the only film he's been in. I would very much liked to have seen him in other films.

This film was interesting, but after seeing it through to the end, there was no point to it, I'm sorry to say. I wanted to know more about where each character was going to go, but since the film is 11 years old now, there's no way that's going to happen. Worth seeing, but just be prepared that it's going to end just as it gets interesting.
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Not sure what to make of it
victornatoli25 June 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Maybe I got the wrong impression from the earlier reviews I'd read, but this wasn't the movie I expected at all. What could have been a sweet romance story about a cute, shy, sexually confused Southern boy instead became a wandering, twisted look at one kid's overly long weekend and the other's deranged mental state. Not to give away the ending, but I didn't know whether to think Lincoln was lucky not to have had sex with John else he'd have been the one killed, or if John killed the guy from the bar precisely because Lincoln didn't sleep with him??
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Brandy-2817 June 2001
This movie wasted tooo much time on other subjects. It should of made the storyline with the two guys a lot more intense and interesting. Instead - yawwwwwwn city. Who cared about the slacker boys and girls getting high in what looked like a garage. Or the relationship between that girl and Shayne.

This movie could have been a whole lot better.
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Bad movie.
ctimberl28 July 2001
This is not a good film. The writer-director, in an interview, explained that he wrote the script, saw a Bergman film that influenced script changes, and then there were further changes when he hired the actor to portray the Vietnamese character. At that point, a total rewrite was needed. The stories don't hold together. Emphasis shifts from one character to another, seemingly secondary, character by the end of the film. Visually, it is too dark. Memphis is its locale and was important to its director, but there is no feel of Memphis in the film. Beyond that, the story isn't very interesting. I think this is one of those films that is very personal to its director, but doesn't have much to interest the rest of us. My life would not be interesting on film, either, which is why it is NOT on film.
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Not a total waste...may contain spoilers
preFelix24 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The movie is definitely not great, but its not a total waste of time. I think the premise of the movie is quite interesting since it deals with the consequences of irresponsible behavior, specially when it comes to human interaction.

For the people who may have not understood the conclusion of the movie, pay attention to the plot summary line "betrayal and revenge"...meaning that the story of these two characters is not quite over by the end of the movie.

And as for the people praising Shayne Gray's work, well...they are absolutely right. He's a natural when it comes to being in front of a camera. Hopefully we'll see him someday doing a movie again.
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Excellent Film
EdgarST18 June 2022
A well thought out and constructed film, with amazingly simple elements and story, in which two men live a short escapade for a couple of days, but they separate in the same way as their fleeting first encounter in search of impersonal sex.

An early example of observational cinema, «The Delta» de-emphasizes the traditional resources of drama and builds the profile of its two characters through a neat description of actions and precise reduction of words. On the one hand, Lincoln, a white boy from Memphis, who appears to lead a normal life; on the other, "John", a dark-skinned Vietnamese émigré, who hides a murky side beneath his apparent life on the fringes of social conventions. In the middle, a city, a family, customs, relationships, the night, eroticism, drugs, the migrant subculture, and a fortuitous escape in search of an inconsistent freedom.

Director Ira Sachs (born in Memphis) executed the film with a solid hand, based on situations he must know too well, to the point that his frequent moments of naturalism disarm and evoke the best moments of fiction cinema with ethnographic features, thanks to the highly effective performances by Shayne Gray and Thang Chan.

The narrative strategy and, above all, a "resolution" in which nothing is resolved, because everyone continues to live, reminded me that, 12 years later, Lucrecia Martel did something similar in «La mujer sin cabeza» and everyone applauded and covered the film with awards.

Although Ira Sachs became a prestigious filmmaker, it is surprising how this 1996 film has been practically buried, because its most outstanding features were already common in the best independent and contemplative North American cinema of the late twentieth century. Highly recommended for those who admire films that were at the vanguard when released, exorcised from the Aristotelian model.
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Pretentious, Realy pretentious
eminkl23 November 2019
Thinks it's clever, but it's not. Long, dull teenage scenes from parties made me sleep for a brief minute or two. Lincoln's struggles with his sexuality as a gay or straight man are well handled, but Minh (African-American and Vietnamese) is so clearly alienated from society that his empathy is sickening. The end of the film is fun to talk about, but this film is pretentious.
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Sucks A**
ffm2033 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I totally agree with most of the other reviewers that this movies is a total bomb. I frequently visit IMDb (close to 8 years) and always wanted to write a review and never have. The absolute atrociousness of this film drove me to register to comment. It was just the huge discrepancy of what this movie could've been and what it ended up being that was such a HUGE disappointment. Basically this movie in terms of when it came out (1996) and the locale AND SHAYNE GRAY could've easily, EASILY become a landmark gay independent film, one that ranks alongside classics such as Beautiful Thing, Jeffrey, Priscilla QUeen of the Desert, Wedding Banquet; movies that people watch regularly when talking about gay Indie films. You have this Beauitufl, BEAUTIFUL, hot, sexy, TALENTED guy Shayne Gray and he was completed wasted in this movie. WHY?!? HE WAS SO CAPTIVATING AND COMPELLING! I loved the movie up to until he met that gross black-viet guy. Afterwards, the movie shifted to covering the two of them and eventually LEAVES SHAYNE AlL TOGETHER????!!! WTF??? I feel like screaming I am so mad. I have many reasons for not liking that character like his horrid horrid accent that makes me want to vomit and cringe every time I hear it. Why was Shayne's character put with that thing?!? We want to see Shayne with a guy that was worthy of how attractive he is. He could've been put with an attractive black guy or an Asian guy w/o an accent. I am so angry because I wasted an hour and a half of life watching this movie. I kept thinking it'd get better and we'd eventually lose the yucky runt and his stupid voice altogether and focus on Shayne where it belongs, and perhaps see his character meet someone worthy and come out or just leave their small town. BUT NO!! WE don't see any of that!!! To top it off Shayne has not been in any movies since then and it is a REAL REAL shame. What's not a shame is the fact that the director, "writer (what I just witnessed was not writing)" hasn't made any successful films. Whew! A person that cannot recognize how AWESOME Shayne Gray was and that for sure the film needed to focus on him and not bring in any disgusting distractions does not deserve to be making films. I mean I am a city boy through and through BUT with a name like The Delta and from the video box cover image you'd expect certain things, like dealing with being gay but also masculine and just a regular southern boy in the South, lots of sweeping panoramic shots of the landscape...THERE WAS NONE OF THAT!!!!! Paint a picture with film in the way Huckleberry Finn painted a picture of the Mississippi with words! I did like the slowness of the movie in that it captured the mood of the location but it could've still had a cohesive story that didn't drag. I did like how the film was diverse in its representation that the region has a strong black as well as Vietnamese population especially since that is a community that is often invisible. HOWEVER the film could've given a nod to those populations without having the story completely meander off-course and crash off a cliff, which is what it absolutely did. Not to beat a dead horse but this film in terms of its subject matter could've soooooooo easily been a film that people cite often as a great gay teen movie. But the story and the poor poor POOR choice of love interest for the lead character totally ruined everything. ARGH! I just want to say again that Shayne Gray was the only reason to watch this movie.
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Interesting. Ahead of its time.
robdiaz-1094923 March 2021
Call me by your name meets Moonlight ... but with no final resolution.
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