BOY CULTURE (Q. Allan Brocka). 88 minutes. Opens Friday (July 6) at the Bloor. Rating: NNN
Context is everything. When I reviewed Boy Culture a year and a half ago for the Inside Out Festival, I bitched about it being an uninspired choice for the fest's gala opener. My exact words were: "Boy Culture makes Queer As Folk look profound."
Maybe the central character's jaded cynicism rubbed off on me. On second viewing, the film's not nearly as annoying as I recall. It's closer to the brittle feel of QAF's British original than the silly melodrama of the North American version.
The emotionally vacant narrator ( Derek Magyar ), who calls himself X to protect his anonymity (he's a high-priced escort), shares a gorgeous Seattle loft with two young gay guys, twink Joey ( Jonathon Trent ), who lusts after X, and Andrew ( Darryl Stephens ), with whom X is secretly in love.
X also has a new client to deal with, a reclusive, mysterious septuagenarian ( Patrick Bauchau ) who'd rather talk than fuck.
Of course, wires cross, confusions ensue, and that older mentor figure ensures that many lessons get learned. Up to a point. The film, and director Q. Allan Brocka (Eating Out), are smart enough to know and play against the conventions of typical gay comedy/ dramas.
The script's reliance on voice-over narration betrays the film's origins as a novel, but the film is all about X's awakening, so it's fitting. The performances, while not deep, are at least consistent - best is veteran character actor Bauchau, who's got some of Hannibal Lecter's nasty vocal inflections.
And it's refreshing that the character of Andrew, white in the book, has been made African American here. Now that's progress.