DVD Review - North Sea Texas

Unlike other gay dramas, the production design is brighter and shinier. If I didn't know the country of origin, I would assume that this film was made in northern Europe. I recently saw a film from northern Europe that reminded me of North Sea Texas visually. It was a gay drama called Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008), a Swedish story with a lot of eye-popping colors and beautiful luminance. North Sea Texas shares that luminance, those over-exposed shots of sunlight spilling into a room or washing over a landscape. Aside from the cheeriness of the production design, some flourishes here and there also indicate that this movie is set in the 1960s or 70s. The clothing and hairstyles aren't complete giveaways. The people here could just be retro, but the fact that they play vinyl records seals it, but again the people here could just be retro.

Based on the 2004 novel Nooit Gaat Dit Over by André Sollie, the story focuses on a 15-year-old boy named Pim who as a toddler would wear his mom's makeup and clothes. Pim falls in love with his 18-year-old, best friend, Gino who enjoys riding a Suzuki motorbike and going shirtless for a mutual masturbation session.

The majority of the first half is watching Pim and Gino sneak around every day to have their Brokeback Mountain moments. Neither of them speak about it. Pim hardly speaks at all. Pim probably has only five lines. For the most part, Pim speaking is not required, but there is a refrain of Pim pulling out a secret shoebox that has memorabilia he's collected, including a sash and tiara that Pim wears in the nude. Some dialogue or narration might have helped to explain this. Otherwise, it's the stereotypical idea. Pim is gay, so he must want to dress like a princess.

By contrast, Sabrina, played by Nina Marie Kortekaas, has more dialogue than Pim. Both she and Pim experience unrequited love. Gino, played by Mathias Vergels, gets more lines of dialogue, but we barely get into his head either. Sabrina is Gino's younger sister, but the filmmakers empathizes with her more than his lead actors.

Director Bavo Dfurne weaves in a storyline involving Pim, played by Jelle Florizoone, developing a crush on a man twice his size and age. The man is Zoltan, played by Thomas Coumans, and the recent, Argentinian film Absent dealt with a teenage boy lusting after an older, straight man. That movie left such a bad taste in my mouth that seeing it again here, when the outcome is obviously not going to be good, was frustrating.

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


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