Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Movie review: Shortbus

Known for carnal sexuality, the New York City underground club Shortbus calls to those with a desire for sexual exploration and self-discovery. Follow along as an interwoven group of hipsters frequenting the club expand and explore their sexuality.

Sook-Yin Lee (Sofia), Paul Dawson (James), Lindsay Beamish (Severin), PJ DeBoy (Jamie), Raphael Barker (Rob), Peter Stickles (Caleb/Stalker), Jay Brannan (Ceth), Alan Mandell (Tobias/Mayor), Justin Hagan (Brad).

Shortbus begins by challenging a conventional assumption about self-gratification, and only gets more unconventional from there. The characters in the film are confronting their own issues around a variety of sexuality issues but are also intertwined in some interesting ways. Much of the self-discovery is entertaining on an intellectual and physical level however, there are some things that just don't make sense. Engaging intimately with a known stalker for example.
While the stories are interesting; a sex worker who can't climax, a gay couple opening their relationship, the characters seem very self-absorbed and reluctant to confront their issues, despite doing so in a very openly sexual environment. The result is a story that feels very inconsistent, and a film that does not feel genuine.

Acting was very entertaining in Shortbus. Lee delivered a good performance with nice transformation. Dawson was solid and seemed to fit his role well, as did DeBoy who played against him well. Stickles, Brannan, Mandell, and the remainder of the cast were solid and enjoyable.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were a bit rough but added an authentic feel of reality to the film. Some rough shots surprisingly also added depth, removing the scripted feel of many films. Action scenes, erotic as they are, were good without turning the film into pornography. Dialogue was mediocre and could have used some depth. Sound and soundtrack were a bit bland.

Shortbus is an interesting examination of LGBT sexuality issues that will probably be outside the comfort zone of a lot of people considering the homosexual or gay focus of the film. Those who enjoy alternative sexuality and relationships may enjoy this one.

With plenty of graphic sexuality which is not simulated, nudity, sexual and other violence, foul language, drugs, and adult situations this should be viewed only by adults.

Released: 2006
Reviewed: 1.30.17
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: LGBT, Drama, Indie LGBT, Indie Drama, Erotic Romance

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

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