A businessman makes a regular arrangement with a Ukrainian prostitute, despite the youngster's involvement in a controlling street gang.A businessman makes a regular arrangement with a Ukrainian prostitute, despite the youngster's involvement in a controlling street gang.A businessman makes a regular arrangement with a Ukrainian prostitute, despite the youngster's involvement in a controlling street gang.
Campillo's dramatic thriller has an unpredictable direction that maintains an unforgiving ambience throughout. Amalgamating two opposing classes of society into an eventful invasive situation that tests the boundaries of both parties involved. Daniel taunted for his repressed homosexuality by the entity that invites themselves into the apartment. Helpless to the scenario that crudely unfolds. The next morning arrives. Daniel, silenced by the aftermath, encounters Marek again. Clouded with guilt or exploiting Daniel further? Marek confidently applies himself to the prostitution that was promised originally. Daniel hesitates but proceeds.
What follows for the remaining runtime is a "Good Samaritan" narrative, with Daniel granting Marek a chance at embellishing the adult world without restrained by the impoverished limitations of immigrants living in hotels under the jurisdiction of social-services. Campillo insightfully provides a harrowing portrait on France's uncontrollable level in immigration whilst intricately crafting a tender relationship in the process that challenges the maturity levels of both individuals. The thematic veneers that Campillo layers upon the furnished walls of Daniel's apartment, astonishes upon every nail-biting turn provided in his screenplay. Every sparse line of dialogue. Every nullified murmur of displeasure. From teaching Marek the French vocabulary of body parts to Marek himself detailing his war-torn past to a befuddled Daniel. The script provokes a monumental amount of care from each character. Not love, but supervision.
What initially commences as a protruding thriller unravels to become a mature drama perceiving change. How one well-intentioned soul can provide an opportunity for a less fortunate individual to better themselves and integrate their intuition into a society that discards them. Replenishing a system that accepts immigrants by granting them a life they can lead. Not trapped by the confinements of four walls that surrounds these helpless souls. Campillo also illustrates loveless intimacy, with Marek offering himself to Daniel for a few euros, amplifying the modern issues of gay culture in general. The explicit scenes of sexual nature were difficult to watch given the circumstances these characters find themselves in, highlighting an insufficiency and inadequacy between the two of them.
It's an incredible piece of cinema that relies on character intervention and sublime direction. Fortunately Rabourdin and Emelyanov produce two of the finest performances queer cinema has to offer. The dimensionality they provide in every situation, from awkward conversations to the conclusive rescue mission, is outstanding. Manifesting pure yet flawed souls into their performances. Rebotini's score occasionally overwhelmed the dramatic endeavours on screen, but supplied a hefty bass during the initial home invasion sequence. Notable praise must be awarded to Lapoirie's gorgeous cinematography. She utilised the confined environment around her to accentuate the thrills of both the first and third act. Even a simple shot of the neighbouring apartment blocks, day or night, contributed to the class segregation theme that Campillo deftly analysed.
The only noticeable criticism was with the chapter titles acting as transitions between human drama and unpredictable thrills. Their abrupt tonal alterations unfortunately felt out of place and less seamless than removing them entirely. It may liken the feature to a journal, yet hinders the pacing occasionally.
Oscillating between genres is no easy achievement, however Campillo's versatility proves that it can be done without regressing the feature. Eastern Boys is a testament to thematic cinema. Embedding a surplus of apt themes into a tender character-driven bond that rarely treads through cliches. Powerful, palpable and quite simply near-perfect. Eastern Boys proves that, when given the chance, we can take control of our lives for the better.
- Feb 19, 2020