Thursday, January 19, 2012

Short (Slightly Homoerotic) Take: "August" and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows".

The premise of August is simple: Troy (Murray Bartlett) returns to Los Angeles after living in Spain for years and decides to contact his ex, Jonathan (Daniel Dugan). Their reunion is marked by nostalgia and sexual tension, propelled by the notion that Troy wants Jonathan back but there are two problems: Jonathan still hasn't forgiven him completely for having left and he's also in a relationship with Raul (Adrian Gonzalez).
Where the movie could've been trashy and perpetuated the idea that gay men are promiscuous and soulless, it uses a very sensitive approach taking its time to explore who these men truly are.
You understand why Troy left and you understand why Jonathan would want him back. The film offers glimpses of their lives that could've been used for lurid purposes (how Raul for example is married to a woman in order to get a work permit) but instead it focuses on who these people are when no racial or sexual labels are attached. Troy's deep selfishness is heartbreaking in its black-hole voracity and Jonathan's naivete makes us all remember that sometimes we truly would give everything up to be with the one that got away.

The first Sherlock Holmes installment was enjoyable because it essentially conveyed the love story between Sherlock (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law). Director Guy Ritchie is the master of the modern homoerotic action flicks (unless those slow motion sequences of ripped, sweaty bodies are in fact to attract all kinds of audiences).
The second one suffers because they aren't together all the time, in fact a recurring joke has Watson's fiancee (Kelly Reilly) worried about Sherlock getting in the way of her wedding. Give or take the queer subtext - even if in the end Watson always goes for Sherlock- the movie pretty much consists of sequence after sequence in which the heroes get in trouble while trying to save the world from the evil Moriarty (Jared Harris). Despite its glossiness and inarguable technical mastery the film drags because it reaches a point where you don't even know what mystery Sherlock is trying to solve. Ritchie always lets the big action scenes get the best of him and forgets to emphasize on the plot (an essential part of any mystery movie). Then all of a sudden Sherlock irrupts into Watson's honeymoon train compartment in full drag and you can't do but wonder how much better the movie would be if it had explored an angle as unique as this one.

August ***
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows **

1 comment:

buddy2blogger said...

Nice review of the movie. Downey Jr makes a very interesting Sherlock Holmes.

I liked the first movie. I need to check this one out.