Friday, June 20, 2014

Boys (2014): Yet Another Coming Of Age Gay Film

Note the shallow depth of field, and the out of focus trees.
Boys (2014)
(aka Jongens)
dir: Mischa Kamp

SIFF 2014 Film #19

I know I was just complaining about The Way He Looks for falling into the cliche traps of all the coming-of-age, coming-out gay teen movies, but Boys makes that movie seem like a masterpiece.

Boys is a new coming-out film from the Netherlands where the defining characteristic of the central boy is he's a track star. Sieger, the 15-year-old track star, gets promoted to the next level of track with his friend Stef. While competing on that level, he meets Marc, a boy who seems to be a little more free and is already accepting of his gay status. Marc and Sieger start a covert relationship, while Sieger struggles between his gay identity and his hetero identity, having a new girlfriend Jessica, whose friend Kim is dating Stef. Torn between Jessica and Marc, Sieger must confront his new found sexuality.

Since that's about enough of a plot for a 30 minute after school special, Boys adds in the extra complication of Eddy, Sieger's rebellious older brother. Eddy likes to ride a moped, though his father has forbidden it for some reason. Eddy also has problems at the lumber mill, and does all sorts of rebellious behaviors.

Mischa Kamp fills Boys wall to wall with dreamily out of focus shots, slow-motion, and super closeups to pad the running time. If you want to play a deadly drinking game with Boys it's drink every time there's an extreme close-up of anything, from a hand tugging at the leg of shorts, to a shoe to two lips kissing. Extra hardcore edition is when there's a super narrow depth of field and everything outside of the focus is blurry and stylish. This is the new status quo and I am now really tired of it. It kind of fits the overly sweet and shallow topic matter of Boys, but it's so overused here that it becomes ridiculous.

Not to mention, Eddy's story line makes absolutely no sense. The final scene with Eddy is completely dumb. And, this is the second movie with a scene which shows gay boys bonding by tandem riding bikes, standing one behind the other. The other one being The Way He Looks. No, I'm not making that up. It just shows how generic these two movies actually are.

There is absolutely no intentional humor in Boys. Unlike The Way He Looks, Boys doesn't regard being a teen as fun, but as a series of emotionally sweet scenes which are all out of a melodrama with no humor injected into them. These boys barely laugh in this film. It's all smiles and furtive looks. It's just such a serious drama.

As mentioned in the review for The Way He Looks, Boys utilizes the new trope of not actually telling the parents that you're gay. Which is more fucked up here than in The Way He Looks because Sieger actually pussyfoots his gay identity around his father and brother, and that coming out isn't regarded as important even though the father figures heavily into the film

Boys is a pretty but shallow film about another teenager discovering his sexuality. There is no best female friend in this movie (surprise!), and the boy seems overly normal and rather sporty. Which is nice for a change. But, it's just so dry and cliche that these new innovations pale in comparison to the downfalls of the rest of the movie. Skip it.

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