VOD Review - August (2011)

Daniel Dugan is in the center of a
love triangle in Eldar Rapaport's "August"
Israeli, writer-director Eldar Rapaport created a short film called Postmortem, which can be watched on Blip.tv. It's about two men who were boyfriends. They separated for years but then reconnect in New York for coffee. August is the feature-length version of that short film. The same two actors reprise their roles. Murray Bartlett stars as Troy and Daniel Dugan co-stars as Jonathan. They meet in a coffee shop. A jazzy music score plays to images of lattes being made. Immediately, it's obvious that the setting is Los Angeles. The essential premise remains. The two broke up but still possess feelings for one another and what's at stake, as they stare at each other over their coffee mugs, is if they will get back together or not.

Rapaport runs with the motif of a heatwave. The steam or the temperature of the coffee aside, Rapaport has his characters dealing with above ninety-degree weather for the entire duration of his story. To make matters worse, his characters don't have air conditioning. Rapaport could be crafting an external metaphor to represent the internal desires and struggles between his two leads.

Watching Bartlett and Dugan exude that heat, feeling that sweat and that burning passion, is the core of this movie and ultimately its power. For example, Rapaport creates a scene that has Bartlett's Troy and Dugan's Jonathan walk into a room. They sit down. They have no dialogue. All that exists between Troy and Jonathan is the heat. From their body language, which Rapaport scrutinizes almost with no anticipation, we see that there's clearly attraction. It's sexual and it's strong.

Every subsequent scene becomes this tension of whether or not this heat, this sexual heat, will melt the distance between them and draw the pair into a wild embrace of which they won't let go, even when they should. It's counterbalanced with the heat between Jonathan and Raul, played by Adrian Gonzalez, or rather lack thereof.

Raul is Jonathan's boyfriend, an immigrant from South America who's trying to get his green card to stay in the country. Raul wants Jonathan to move into his apartment, an apartment that only has a broken fan to comfort it. Raul plans Jonathan's 30th birthday, but it's apparent that Troy's mere presence gets Jonathan's temperature up without fail, whereas Raul needs the August air in order to make Jonathan sweat.

Jonathan who looks like a young Josh Charles has to make a choice, but he's indecisive. Troy isn't indecisive, but there's a part of him that can't commit. The opening scene plants the idea that Troy may not be able to plant his feet. Jonathan is indecisive because of the fact that Troy didn't commit. Troy left him and went to another country. Jonathan isn't sure if that will happen again.

Yet, this movie does feature the sexiest head shaving scene I've seen in a while. It also showcases a cool, belly dance, which I haven't seen in a move probably since Charlie Wilson's War (2007).

Five Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 38 mins.


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