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Gregory J. Lucas,
Sex and drugs- getting hooked and getting off- can be addicting. For Drew, eking out a mundane life in Waterville, Maine, it is resisting the illicit pleasure in New York; for Mistress DaTina, it means operating a sex and drug den to cope with her life.
It was inevitable that Todd Verow would make, at some point, a film that would have as its main subject: Crystal Meth and the underworld of men having sex with men on this drug (in this case, in New York and Maine). Being an underground film maker, the topic is not dealt with, in a conventional (judgmental) fashion. We follow life through the lens of sybarites who burn the candle at both ends, nihilism bestowing them with the freedon to treat each day as it could be their last. Nevertheless the depressing come down and the danger that party drug, Tina, can lead to, also do pop their ugly head, [it's part and parcel of getting hooked to Meth after all].
There is also comedy. It can be found in the details: subtle gestures or words said under someone's breath delivered in a matter of fact blasé manner, typical of those engaged in the revolving mill of (homo-)sex, drugs and strangers. The Party aNd Play scenes are very recognizable to anyone who may have dabbled in it; various homosexual characters are all united by their self same craving for the drug and sexual intimacy, driven on, by a devil may care wanton hedonism. It also shows how this can result, not only in uninhibited lascivious activity, but can also lead to self involved psycho babble and shifty paranoia.
I was pleasanlty surprised to see handsome actor Brad Hallowell show off his talent, and body, in another Todd Verow film. Some of Verow's other regular stalwarts make an appearance here too. I understand that the character of Miss Da Tina is a metaphor of Crystal Meth personified, and that would have been fine, when it is limited to her sporadic acerbic performances. There is a 20 minute intersection about Miss Da Tina's past history in the third quarter of the film, where the tempo and mood changes, and it derails the film. It goes back on track in the fourth quarter, when we are returned to the narrative of the main characters (Hallowell and co), and only then I'm once again gripped and thrilled. When the films ends, everything that may have seemed unrelated and abstract before, does fall into place. (but Miss Da Tina's overlong scene remains redundant nevertheless)
The libertine tone of this film about this subject matter, and its subtle humour, are reason enough to make it a stand out gay movie. Moreover its playful visual aesthetic, often with an overlay of "punk" graphics, makes it a pleasure to watch. The scene underscored with the A-minus song: quarter to 9, is a sublime moment, encapsulating all the aforementioned aspects in all its splendour.
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