Armando, a 50 year man, seeks young men in Caracas and pays them just for company. One day he meets Elder, a 17 years boy that is the leader of a criminal gang, and that meeting changes their lives forever.
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A crisis counselor is sent by the Catholic Church to a small Chilean beach town where disgraced Priests and nuns, suspected of crimes ranging from child abuse to baby-snatching from unwed mothers, live secluded, after an incident occurs.
The adolescent Milan discovers his own suspected homosexuality at the age of 17 and the consequences for him and his family but also the liberation as he understands why he has been so down and rebellious.
Johann von Bülow
Armando, a middle-aged owner of a Caracas dental prosthesis business, is estranged from his father, who he observes occasionally from a distance. He finds a young man of the streets who negotiates a fee high enough for the boy to be used to provide Armando's masturbatory object. Although a following encounter ends in a beating for Armando, he continues to make the boy dependent. What is the final result that Armando desires? Is it something more than a conflicted relationship with a hustler?Written by
An old-guy-meets-young-guy love story, er, hate story, perhaps. In their first encounter, Armando, the old one, promises money to Elder, the young one, in exchange for removing his clothes while he masturbates. Elder is a supposedly-straight homophobe who wails the older, gay man in the face, leaving him passed out on the floor while he steals his wallet. That's their first "date". Then they keep coming back to each other for more.
On the positive side, the acting is not half bad, especially from the young lead. He completely filled his character's shoes, right down to the body language. It didn't feel like he was acting at all. When he was supposed to be an asshole, he was a total asshole and then some. No matter how absurd the idea of his chemistry with Armando, his portrayal of unbridled passion was still shockingly convincing. The role of Armando does not require nearly as much acting by comparison. He mainly makes the same hollow face for the entire film, indicating that he just feels terrible all the time. There is nuance to both of the main characters which makes you simultaneously hate, pity, and maybe even root for them, capturing quite honestly at times the complexity of human nature and self-inflicted suffering.
All the while the characters are exploiting one another, there is never a single moment or conversation that indicates a genuine mutual interest or respect has developed between them. Suddenly, romance appears to blossom out of a couple of drinks, which I found highly unbelievable given the characters' demeanors. Armando doesn't smile even when, against all odds, he gets what he's been dreaming of. Their mere togetherness suggests perpetual self-loathing on behalf of both characters, as they ultimately can't seem to resist hurting each other.
An interesting change develops in one of the characters towards the latter part of the film, but then the story ends abrubtly and disappointingly. The lack of music in the end credits and the muted color palette perfectly exemplify the sense of emptiness one gets from the film in general.
I was hoping for and somewhat expecting a different outcome. The story's arc does not seem based in reality. The characters, Elder in particular, frequently seem guided by an unseen hand that makes them do things real people probably wouldn't do. The overall product manifests like an intoxicated, angry, revenge fantasy in which a homophobic man gets his comeuppance, but not before first being objectified and salivated over like he's a piece of meat. If you're not already bitter, you might want to avoid watching this cold-hearted film.
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