DVD Review - Love in the Time of Civil War

It's unclear if director Rodrigue Jean and writer Ron Ladd were trying to say anything specific about the setting. A lot of this movie takes place on cold, snowy, city streets and inside various crummy apartments that end up being drug dens. If those streets aren't recognizable, then it can be learned that the movie progresses through the Canadian-French city of Montreal. Although it might not be anything specific about the city Jean is trying to say, it might simply be the kind of person at the center. The movie puts in the middle a drug addict who gets by through the use of prostitution.

Alexandre Landry stars as Alex, the drug addict and prostitute in question. As the movie goes along, he drifts from one person to another, one situation to another, but each person and each situation are more drug addicts and more prostitutes. Alex does briefly latch onto a drug dealer and his girlfriend, but everyone else are drug addicts and prostitutes.

To pay for more drugs, Alex does hook up with gay men and rob them, so Alex is not the greatest of characters. At no point do you like Alex, his ways or any of the people with whom he associates. It's dark and depressing to watch Alex drift through the streets desperately.

Landry looks pretty awful. It's not clear if makeup has done a number on him, his face and his body, or if Landry has crafted his presence and physicality alone, but he definitely appears to be a nasty, dirty and disgusting, drug addict. Being young and white means he can pass but he certainly seems very rough.

All of Alex's relationships are quite tenuous. None of them never feel all that solid. They do in fact come and go. There might be a time-jump in the narrative, but all-in-all this movie seems to depict only a week or so, probably no more than a month of Alex's life. However, despite two rather dramatic things happening, including an arrest and a death, the two dramatic things pass with no consequence.

There have been a number of films that have dealt with drug addicts and male prostitutes. Not one of recent memory has combined the two to give such a stark and bleak outlook. This movie is dreary and doesn't really have anything else to show for it.

L'amour au temps de la guerre civile.
Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but contains full-frontal nudity and graphic sexuality.
Running Time: 2 hrs.


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