DVD Review - Capital Games
Capital Games is about former Los Angeles Police Department officer Steve Miller. The film opens with Miller, a tall, gorgeous, well-built blonde with blue eyes, played by Eric Presnall, running shirtless through the streets of L.A., as he experiences a series of flashbacks. To the hardcore Hauser fan who has read her most recent books, bells will ring, particularly if said person has read Miller's Tale, a prequel novel explaining the flashbacks. Miller's Tale tells prior to the start of Capital Games how Miller caused a stir with his conservative family and racist LAPD father when he started dating a black woman whom he rescued from a burglary.
With a screenplay by Wendell Lu and directed by Ilo Orleans in his feature debut, Capital Games makes it clear by the end of the first reel that Miller and his black girlfriend Sonja Knight, played by Paula Ray, have broken up and Miller is now by himself. The reasons she left are only clear in retrospect but Miller also left the LAPD, currently putting him to work at Parsons and Co., an advertising agency. He's been there for five years. He's very competitive and ambitious and has worked his way up, dressing in very nice suits and driving a Mercedes-Benz, but he wants more.
At the agency, there is an account, the Foist account, that is gone up for grabs. Miller wants it, which would not only prove him the alpha dog but also net him a lot in commission. Yet, on the day that he goes for it, appealing to his boss, Mr. Parsons, a new ad executive arrives at the agency.
The new ad exec is Mark Richfield, a British transplant who rivals Miller for the Foist account. Richfield is played by Gregor Cosgrove in a not always convincing British accent. Before even properly meeting, Richfield upsets Miller by taking his parking space with his sporty and way more fun Pontiac Solstice, a convertible roadster. Richfield is also dressed more impeccably and comes with more confidence, manners and ability in ad work.
The rivalry between Miller and Richfield amplify when Parsons decides to take everyone at the agency to Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a company retreat for the weekend. Miller and Richfield are forced to live together in a home in the desert. The retreat is meant for team building, but it only makes Miller's competitiveness that much worse.
During the retreat, the agency's employees participate in three exercises or "games" meant to bring them all closer together. It brings Miller and Richfield together but in unexpected ways. Richfield criticizes Miller at almost every decision he makes, as Miller makes it clear that he wants to be the sole person making the decisions, revealing how Miller is way too macho and Richfield way too pampered.
Aside from a couple of moments that mirror the Oscar-winning 2005 film, Capital Games is not Brokeback Mountain. Evidence of this is the fact that it's not about exterior homophobia or homophobia that comes from any real, outside threat. A possible threat exists in Miller's conservative family, but Lu's script never makes use of that threat.
The only, other threat is Richfield's pending marriage to Sharon Tice, played by Corinne Fox, a New Mexico native. There's also a question of Richfield's relationship to openly gay lawyer Jack Larsen, played by Shane Keough, the former baseball player and model, but Lu's script fails to explain what the dynamic is between Richfield, his future wife and Larsen who is currently Richfield's roommate. One scene has Richfield come home and see both his fiancée and Larsen sitting in his living room, and one wonders about their history.
Nevertheless, the absolute fun of this movie is watching Miller doggedly pursue Richfield and do whatever he can to seduce Richfield. It's almost like a cat-and-mouse game, a predator going after its prey. It helps that Miller is former LAPD because it's also like a cop going after a suspect, a suspect with whom he wants to have sex, making the movie more about the tension and passion that heavily breathes between the two men.
The film premiered at Philadelphia's Qfest 2013. It was made available on DVD through Amazon via an "on demand" basis, but now Breaking Glass Pictures is giving it a proper DVD release on February 25.
Four Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but for contains male full-frontal nudity and sexual situations.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 37 mins.