Entertainment » Movies


by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Jan 3, 2017

Director Nick Corporon brings another strong entry to the GLBT film scene with "Retake," a surprising, often suspenseful drama that pairs a vibrant, good natured hustler (Devon Graye) with a middle-aged john -- named, aptly, Jonathon (Tuc Watkins) -- who hires the younger man to travel with him on a journey of several days and "role play" a character named "Brandon."

Jonathan is initially cold, dictatorial, and obsessive -- a little like Jimmy Stewart in "Vertigo," really, and it doesn't take long for "Brandon" to start putting the pieces together that Jonathan is trying to re-create a relationship he once had.

But the young man is his own person, and the constraints of playing "Brandon" start to wear thin. What's more, he finds Jonathan interesting and genuinely wants to get to know more about him. It's difficult: Jonathan's rules include strict instructions to avoid asking him about the details of his own life.

Bit by bit -- with patience, charm, and a little judicious booze -- the hustler begins to coax details from his often taciturn employer. As a genuine bond starts to grow between the two, the role play starts to fade away -- but will Jonathan allow it to fall to the side? Or will his hurt, fear, and anger drive a wedge between them before something that truly belongs to them can flourish?

The film is invested with a professional level of production values and the talents of two outstanding lead actors. That in itself earns the film a chance; personally, I was skeptical of another gay movie about a rent boy and his client. But "Retake" earns its keep and proves to be an emotionally compelling story of love and uncertainty, artfully balancing the understandable wish to recapture the past with the vitality and excitement that only comes from embracing the present and the future.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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