A very engaging film about a young Greek-Australian manís attempt to live two lives: the life of the dutiful son in an intense Greek household and the life of a liberated gay man. The conflict between these two extremes tears him apart.
The most watchable thing about this movie is the lead actor, Alex Dimitriades. He is utterly beautiful. At one point, someone compares him to John Cusack, and there is a resemblance, except Alex is far more genuinely pretty.†
The sex in this movie is the most realistic Iíve seen outside actual porn. Not naked sex in bed, but snatched blowjobs or handjobs in alleys. You will believe what you see on the screen, quite an achievement for the actors.
Ari lives with his mother and father and sister in a small house in Melborne. His parents were immigrants and the movie is cut with images of immigrants arriving to Australia in the 1950s with all their hopes and fears. Ariís father was is a communist, espousing freedom, yet ironically he gives his grown son no freedom whatsoever. The cloying, stultifying pressure of being forced to live at home, with no job and no prospects sends Ari on a downward spiral of drugs and increasingly out-of-control behaviour.
Then he meets Sean. A mystic tells him someone whose name begins with S wants to look after him. Events seem conspiring to save Ari from himself.
Very watchable, intense and engaging movie with some very graphic scenes.
A sexy movie thatís got more than eye candy: a talented cast and an intelligent script, based on the novel Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas.† Alexis Dimitriades is outstanding in lead role Ari, a 19 year old closeted Greek Australian with attitude. Heís gorgeous and he can act.† His performance is mesmerising.† Whenever heís onscreen itís hard to take your eyes off him, so itís a credit to the rest of the cast that I did.†
Particularly good is Ariís cross-dressing friend, Johnnie, aka Tallulah (poignantly modelled upon his dead mother).† Heís out and proud, even if it means his father is ostracised by the immigrant community.† Johnnieís dad and Ariís father used to be comrades in the struggle for equality, now they no longer speak, shame by association.
The movie covers a dramatic 24 hours in Ariís life, from a wedding, where all is bright and hopeful on a sunny afternoon, to the dark depths of night, as Ari struggles with his identity, as outsider and gay man.† Heís a complex character, challenging the audience, pushing us away like his family.† Anger and confusion make life difficult for Ari and all those around him.† Constantly on the move, pushing boundaries and testing his limits, Ari uses drugs and sex to alleviate frustration with himself and a world that wonít allow him to be free.
There are sex scenes in this mainstream movie with more tingle than softcore porn that fails to please anyone.† A masturbation sequence is sensual and erotic, very explicit, and a couple of raunchy blow jobs show Ari struggling to have a man yet be a man.† More subtle touches include Johnnie fellating a coke bottle at a card game, and pressing lipstick kisses onto Ariís face..†
The sad fact is Johnnie is in love with Ari who sees him only as a friend.† The film has an increasingly dark tone.† Ari almost seems to connect with his father in a Greek dance sequence at home in the kitchen, but Ari has to mention Johnnieís father.
Ari flirts with Sean, a friend of his brotherís, and the two men appear to connect.† Sean is possibly the answer to Ariís problems, a lover and friend who can reconcile his inner conflict and render him whole.
The movie is unflinching in its honesty. Thereís a disturbing scene in a police station thatís shockingly brutal and moving at the same time.† Itís very naturalistic, filmed using hand-held cameras. And it plays with our expectations, to make something definitely out of the ordinary.† Highly recommended.†
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