Boy Erased (2018): Biography / Drama

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A boy is sent by his parents to a church-supportive gay conversion program after revealing to them that he has “impure” thoughts about men.

Joel Edgerton proves time and time again that he was born and destined to be both in front and behind the camera. A fine addition and a major representative of the Australian film school.

The film: Garrard Conley’s heartfelt memoir is masterfully adapted for the big screen with nothing but emotion, sensitivity, honesty, and courage. Nicole Kidman, Russel Crowe, and Lucas Hedges give amazing performances, become mother, father and son, and open their house’s door for you to experience the suffering of their family’s drama. Non-linearly narrated, “Boy Erased” seems to be slightly holding its punches but delivers a clear message and puts the situation into perspective, establishing the backward, medieval, and shameless position of the church in the 21st century.

Life: “Boy Erased” is a drama that countless families across the globe face every year and, in their despair, they rely on a higher power to give them an answer to a natural, conscious choice that poses no question. The diversity of homosexual personalities, idiosyncrasies, quirks, and foibles extends as far as the heterosexuals’, the “normal”. And to this very day, men of science try to contextualise the “gay gene” – good luck isolating it from the “straight” one! And certain men of the cloth, and followers of an organisation, whose knowledge of the world is summarised in a fictitious book that is divorced from reality, want to cast out the “demon of homosexuality”.

Do we believe in God or do we believe in what others interpret of what God is? I remember being taught Jesus saying “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone”. But for the life of me, I can’t remember been taught about Him condemning homosexuality. We are soon entering the third decade of the 21st century, and by now, the State and the pharisaic Church should have been distinctively separated.

God is not to be blamed here. He Himself (is it ‘him’?) is the victim and sad creator of our decadent species. But there is still faith that the minorities in this world, who strive to make a difference, regardless of their age, gender, IQ, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs will one day grow more… and more… and more… and will dethrone archaic establishments, status quos, and organisations that have been ruling since the dawn of time. And “issues” such as homosexuality will stop being treated as “witch hunt”, will become accepted and, hopefully, soon after, will be taken as a matter of course where no one could care less.

And to quote the late Curt Cobain: “I am not gay, although I wish I were, just to piss off homophobes”.

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It Comes at Night (2017): Horror / Mystery

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A dark, malevolent threat has plagued the world and a man with his wife and son, barricaded into their house living under strict rules, are challenged by a young family seeking refuge.

Post-apocalyptic, slow burn and edgy at the same time, “It Comes at Night” plants the seed of doubt, of what is really happening in the world, who is to be trusted and who isn’t, who is indeed carrying the infectious disease, and who has sunk into paranoia…

A psychological horror by Trey Edward Shults, with no cheap jump-scares, formulaic way of writing, standard character development, spoon-fed answers to epidermic questions, and Hollywood-like utterances, actions, and reactions. There are plenty of films like that out there but this is not one of them. You’ve been warned, proceed with caution. And if the story doesn’t really terrify you, the astonishing performances of Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. definitely will.

It’s really hard to analyse it, even briefly, without giving anything away so, I’ll try to draw a picture for you. Think of it as a parable. As a symbolic interpretation of four major “entities”: the fortified house, the infected outside world, the family living under an uncompromising domestic order, and the night itself. Try to place them accordingly as the story, admittedly, slowly unfolds and only then ask yourselves…

What is it that comes at night? And why?

The Rover (2014): Action / Crime / Drama

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Wipe Hollywood completely out of Mad Max, and you get David Michôd’s the post-apocalyptic Rover. This desolated Australia manages to crawl under every antihero’s skin and plant the seed of isolation and fear to their already existing despair.

In this endless pitch black tunnel, a light shines upon the most unlikely friendship between furious Eric (Guy Pearce) and mentally vulnerable Rey (Robert Pattinson). A light that comes from the abyss of their soul, indicating that, even though everything has gone awry, the tide can still change.

Australian cinema is relentless as much as it is beautiful. And with producer / writer / director David Michôd and writer Joel Edgerton you know that it can only be relentlessly beautiful. Guy Pearce has always been spectacular which leaves us in the end with…

Robert Pattinson! A script has a main philosophy: Show, don’t tell! Robert Pattinson doesn’t say a word. He shows, having nothing to prove, that he is an actor. As if “Remember Me” (2010) was not evident enough, “The Rover” rubs it in haters’ face.

Animal Kingdom (2010): Crime / Drama

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A cinematic achievement from writer/director David Michôd that will keep you engaged from the opening scene to the end credits. In front of the camera, Detective Guy Pearce and the not so beloved and highly dysfunctional Cody family, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Jackie Weaver, James Frecheville, Luke Ford, and Sullivan Stapleton, perform magic and take us back to some of the Melbourne crime scenes of the 80’s.

“Animal Kingdom”, a realistic crime / drama, straight out of the genuine Australian film school that always appeals to the deepest human emotions, is true to its genres and honest to its execution. A film that earned its stripes, gave prominence to actors and crew, got nominations all over the world and, unarguably, dominated at the AFI.