Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
USA, 2017. Screenplay by Brian Jordan Alvarez. Cinematography by Matthew Lynn. Produced by Brian Jordan Alvarez. Music by Brian Jordan Alvarez. Film Editing by Brian Jordan Alvarez. Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.
Brian Jordan Alvarez writes, directs, edits and stars in this often sexy though sometimes illogical exploration of friendship and romance. He plays Ivan, a visual artist American ex-patriate living in his parents’ house in Cartagena, Colombia, currently stifled in his attempt to create a new canvas to please his friendly and warm art dealer. His best friend from college, Christian (Peter Vack), is coming for a visit and announces in the voice mail message we hear at the beginning of the film that he is bringing his brother Cole (Morgan Krantz), who he says has recently recovered from a manic episode and needs the trip. The boys show up and, before long, they are joined by a few new female friends that turns into a round robin of hookups between days at the beach and nights enjoying food and songs on the veranda.
The trouble that sneaks into this idyllic, passionately youthful situation starts when Cole makes some playful moves on Ivan that eventually becomes a secret affair that is hampered by Cole’s constantly shifting willingness to admit that there is anything between them, or that he can even see himself as someone who loves men. From here the film, which begins with a confidently even tone between its good nature and its sexy eroticism, gets out of control with a conclusion that veers into uncomfortable melodrama, with Christian becoming so angry at his brother’s affair with his best friend that it challenges our belief that these two were ever best friends, while Ivan’s obsession with getting a clearly sociopathic manipulator to admit he loves him becomes very hard to sympathize with (not to mention that he never seems to notice that he has lost a best friend in the process). Alvarez’s talent for comedy is well on display and he and Krantz enjoy deliciously sexy chemistry together, but it feels as if only part of this film was thoroughly considered before being rushed to the finish.