Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Australia, 1988. FGH, Hemdale, International Film Management. Screenplay by Frank Moorhouse, based on his book The Everlasting Secret Family & Other Secrets. Cinematography by Julian Penney. Produced by Michael Thornhill. Music by Tony Bremner. Production Design by Peta Lawson. Costume Design by Graham Purcell. Film Editing by Pamela Barnetta.
Unwieldy Australian drama about a secret society of upper-class men in professional positions who keep handsome teenage boys as lovers. You would think it’s just a group of silly, dirty old men until you see the ritual sword-dancing and chanting and realize that this is some serious business we’re looking at. Mark Lee is excellent as a teenage prep school boy who is taken as the companion of a high-ranking Senator and later is threatened with replacement when the years pass and he starts to grow older. Relishing his position in the Senator’s favour too much to let it go, he invests all his resources into youth-preservation surgery and ingratiates himself into the Senator’s household, becoming the official nanny to his master’s son. The subject is told with refreshing fearlessness, but there’s a lot of character development that is ignored in favour of titillating story twists and kinky situations. Overall, the characters are all unknown to us, leaving a flat and shallow experience that isn’t improved by its delicious strangeness.