Strapped (2010)

JOSEPH GRAHAM

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB

USA, 2010Screenplay by Cinematography by Produced by Joseph Graham, Music by , Production Design by Film Editing by .  Podcast:  Bad Gay Movies.

A young male hustler () comes to the apartment of a client and plies his trade with expert skill, telling his sad story to his lonely Russian ex-army john before collecting his cash and walking out the door. Unable to find the exit, he instead runs into an eccentric party animal who insists that they are old friends, who takes him into his own apartment where his friends are having fun doing drugs and one of them also gets our handsome protagonist to put out for cash. Once again trying to leave after this assignation, the boy whose name and personality changes in every circumstance is almost at the exit when a young father spies him in the hallway and, making up an excuse to leave his wife and newborn baby at the door, takes our plucky young fellow down to the building’s basement where he insists on having his way with him. When that turns sour, Bonenfant’s character is saved by an older resident of the building who takes him back to his apartment for a hot drink, conversation and, well, more sex for cash.  It seems this building is a real treasure trove of moneymaking opportunities for this rentboy who believes in never repeating himself, always moving on to the next adventure, but when he meets his final contact in the building and spends some time with him, we learn that what he has been doing this entire time is avoiding being a real person with a real life and now has the opportunity to reach for something more important. Between the self-importance of this lecture on sexual morality (which you will appreciate if you believe that sex workers aren’t real people) and the dull manner in which it is played out (what could have been an opportunity for a wide variety of interesting characters and conversations never quite comes to fruition), this is a short yet difficult experience to sit through, constantly obsessed with sex but prudish in its manner of displaying it.  The ending would feel like a reward if there were any suggestion of a connection between the two men other the fact that they have passionate and not just vigorous sex; the main character’s search for a self would be easier to sympathize with if we had any context for who his self was to begin with, but he seems to be so easygoing about his life that having his existence challenged feels like an unnecessary judgment at the end and not a relief for something he is missing.

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