DVD Review - In Bloom

Tanner Rittenhouse (left) and Kyle Wigent
in a scene from "In Bloom" by Chris M. Birkmeier
This movie is not to be confused with a similarly titled film that came out this year. In Bloom by Nana Ekvtimishvili is from the country of Georgia. The film being reviewed here is not. It's from Chicago. Written and directed by Chris Michael Birkmeier, it centers on seven months in the lives of two young men who live in the north side of the city, a section known for its predominantly gay population. The section is called Boystown. The title is almost ironic as the story tells the devolution of the romantic relationship between the two young men in Boystown.

Kyle Wigent stars as Kurt, a drug dealer who mainly sells marijuana and whose specialty is the "solar flare." Tanner Rittenhouse stars as Paul, a grocery store employee who is Kurt's boyfriend. They seem to be a typical couple. There is some tension because Paul doesn't necessarily approve of Kurt's drug dealing but he does accept it.

Given the incidental events that happen in this movie, it would make sense if Paul had a bigger problem with Kurt's drug dealing. Yet, the devolution of the relationship comes instead from a random guy named Kevin, played by Adam Fane, who kisses Kurt and awakens feelings of discontent within him. The problem is Kurt's rationalizing or reasoning is practically contradictory.

Early on, Paul expresses wanting to do something different, whereas Kurt is fine with his life as it is. Later, Kurt tells his roommate Brad, played by Steve Casillas, a bunch of stuff that sounds crazy but basically he seems bored with his relationship with Paul and wishes he could go back to when it was all new and exciting. It's just never clear what Kurt wants that Paul isn't giving him and why Kurt is not willing to try to change things.

Maybe Kurt thinks Paul is boring, but he's always going along with whatever Kurt wants to do, whether it's going to the beach or to a party or even trying drugs. Then, when they break-up, Kurt wants Paul back but he never explains why, or there's no kind of introspection. This is perhaps the point. Birkmeier perhaps wanted to show the confusion and incoherence of Kurt, as some young men might be in similar circumstances.

However, as the movie plays out, Birkmeier interjects these murders. The murders are centered on young men in Boystown. Presumably then, it's a serial killer targeting gay men by stalking them at night and then stabbing them to death in cold, brutal fashion. The problem is that this plotline is pointless. It adds nothing to the story. It's never resolved, and it doesn't even affect the main characters. One of the protagonists finds a murder victim, but we're not led to understand what that means to him.

Jake Andrews co-stars as Eddie, a fellow employee at the grocery store. His relationship with Paul grows to be one of the most interesting things about the movie. Sadly, it's cut short and not taken to places it could have.

Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but contains sex and violence.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 28 mins.

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