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Expertly crafted film that is thought provoking and confronting
I was fortunate enough to attend an intimate screening of DROWN in Katoomba this weekend, and the experience was intense and thought provoking, offering a different take on the gay culture often portrayed on film.
DROWN is an Australian film directed beautifully by Dean Francis and based on the controversial play written by Stephen Davis.
The story explores the relationship of three guys, Len, 'Meat' and Phil, all of whom are lifesavers, with Phil being the latest addition to the Lifesaver club. Phil's strength and skill as a lifesaver brings out Len's competitive nature. Similarly, Phil's sexuality is the catalyst that exposes Len's dark side, insecurities and his very obvious struggles preventing him from confronting his own sexual identity.
DROWN is unashamedly unafraid to explore the manifestation of homophobia in a world where unflinching mate-ship and machoism come before true acceptance of ones self.
The story will make you uncomfortable, and it has some confronting moments; but, that is why it should be watched, and that is why it is relevant in 2015.
There are some beautiful scenes of tanned bodies, sun and surf that play to some of Sydney's beauty, but the juxtaposition with some of the flashbacks and unfolding moments in the present remind us of the darkness that lingers. These expertly edited flashbacks, in equal part, build suspense and provide insight into the confusing, terrifying and tragic decisions made by the key protagonist, Len. Without these flashbacks it would be easy to dismiss Len as a manic, crazy c**t, and that's not to say he isn't, however, we have an opportunity to empathise with his struggle and consider the ways in which humans are shaped, molded and influenced.
Throughout the film you are fed just enough information to consider, more deeply, why the characters do, or don't do, certain things. This is important because there are some completely frustrating moments where you will question the actions, or inactions, of some characters (you may even want to scream at the screen).
The acting in this film is nothing short of inspired. The three lead men should be so proud. Their performances are brutal and feel painfully raw. It most certainly could not have been an easy experience, even for the most gifted of actors.
I'm not aware of any other film that so deeply explores homophobia and bullying. It is a story that will make you feel.
This film opens up the opportunity to have a conversation about gay culture, bullying, homophobia and the struggles that exist about sexual identity. See this film, and then talk about it.
Congratulations to Dean, Stephen and the entire cast and creative team for delivering an Australian film that has been masterfully crafted.
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