Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Australia, 1998. Australian Film Finance Corporation, Great Scott Productions Pty. Ltd., Film Victoria, Head On Productions. Screenplay by Andrew Bovell, Ana Kokkinos, Mira Robertson, based on the novel Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas. Cinematography by Jaems Grant. Produced by Jane Scott. Music by Ollie Olsen. Production Design by Nikki DiFalco. Costume Design by Anna Borghesi. Film Editing by Jill Bilcock.
Alex Dimitriades is fantastic as the Australian son of Greek immigrants who cannot reconcile his own homosexuality with the old-world gender politics of his family background. Having been raised with an almost ridiculous sense of responsibility to his own Macho-ness, he is fuelled towards self-hatred whenever he wants to express his sexual desires, and so most of his encounters with other men are furtive, impersonal and destructive. This is all thrown off-balance when he meets a very nice boy who takes a genuine shine to him and presents him with the possibility of romance. His reaction is the core of this turgid drama by Ana Kokkinos, who vividly brings to the screen the dark side of a culture trapped in an alternate time, but never brings forth the positive aspects of the character’s life or his family’s. The film’s main theme is a difficult one and deserves to be told this honestly, but there’s no reason for the film to be such a downer, and Kokkinos’s insistence on unpleasant situations starts to get pretentious towards the film’s end. Still, Dimitriades is a charismatic and thoroughly likable actor whose performance enriches the experience.