Volume 16, Number 11 | Aug. 12–Aug. 18, 2003

Koch on film

“Boys Life 4: Four Play” (-)
The four short homoerotic stories depicted in this film, never sexually explicit or pornographic in language, are very flimsy. The same short-story format was used in the previous film in this series, but those stories were much more engrossing.

Only one story comes close to being first rate. It is about a young high school boy, Brad (Jay Gillespie), who was just raped by jocks from his high school. He is lying near naked in a field and clearly in need of assistance. Another student, Andy (David Rogers), who had been part of the attack, returns to help him. Thus begins the relationship between the two of them which is very sensitive and well done as Andy reveals his own emotions and sexual desires.

A preceding short story lacks substance. It depicts the relationship between two young men — Michael (Cole Williams) and Riley (Weston Mueller) — who decide to live together. That relationship, which becomes the subject of a documentary, quickly deteriorates as the two men discuss their emotions on camera.

The other two stories are even less engrossing. New York Times reviewer, Dave Kehr, thought much more highly of this film than I did. I believe he lowered his standards in reviewing this flick.

“Dirty Pretty Things” (+)
This film, because of its subject matter, is totally absorbing from beginning to end. It provides an insight into the lives of legal and illegal immigrants living in London, some of whom, are seeking political asylum from their native countries.

The principal character is Okwe, (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a doctor from Nigeria living illegally in London. He drives a cab during the day and mans a hotel desk at night. Okwe sleeps on a couch in the home of Senay, (Audrey Tautou), an illegal immigrant from Turkey who has applied for refugee status. She is illegally working as a maid in the hotel where Okwe is employed.

In addition to the immigrantsí constant fear of being arrested and exhaustion from working long hours, is their additional fear of what the hotel rooms are used for. Prostitution is one use, and the major prostitute, Juliette, is superbly played by the truly engaging and beautiful Sophie Okonedo. The mystery of the hotel rooms is first brought to our attention by Okwe when he finds a human heart in the toilet bowl of a hotel room. We learn that illegal operations are performed in the hotel on illegal aliens, some of whom are willing to sell a kidney for $10,000 to the hotel operator, Sneaky (Sergi Lopez), who abuses everyone and sells human body parts to buyers in need of them.

The film has several loose ends and factual medical errors, but it is gripping, well acted and well worth seeing.


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