Luster

Ladymol's Review

This wasnít at all what I expected from the disc cover: a tangle of tempting naked limbs. Itís an unusual little indie film about a group of disparate young people who are linked by a record shop. They revolve around Jackson, a blue-haired, kooky, adorable would-be poet, who has a propensity to fall in love too easily. He seems to be looking for something from the unsuitable men he falls for while at the same time overlooking what he has right at home. Two men are dying of unrequited love for Jackson, and the play out of their resolution to this is very moving and poignant.

Interspersed with Jacksonís punk-style homoerotic poetry and with some excellent performances by the lead men, this is a highly watchable movie. There are some excellent kisses and lots of full-frontal nudity, although nothing thatís meant to be erotic. In fact, the most notable full-frontal scene is probably the most poignant in the movie, but I wonít spoil it for you.

Jacksonís life teeters on the edge of collapsing. Heís surrounded by heavy drug users, goes to orgies, knows men into S&M, but somehow he seems to slide through it all with the same effortlessness as he does riding his skateboard.

Justin Herwick was cute and vulnerable and totally believable as Jackson.

I highly recommend this movie if youíre in the mood for something a bit off-centre from the standard Hollywood offering.


Cerisaye's Review

This film opens with the aftermath of an orgy, several naked bodies entwined on a bed.† In voiceover, a poem about David Cassidy.† And a conversation with a guy sitting in the bath preparing to shoot up.† Which sets the tone for the rest of the film:† quirky, edgy, rough, very indie.† Action takes place over one weekend in a 90s LA of writers, artists and musicians, where everyone is gay and life consists of music, drugs, parties and sex.† The kind of urban gay scene that Big Eden reacts against.†

Skaterboy Jackson, blue-haired punk poet, thinks heís in love with a guy in white leather pants who came to last nightís party.† Best friend Sam owns a record store where Jackson works, though he doesnít do much apart from sneer at customersí music tastes and promote favourite group Lesbians With Guns. Whenever Jackson calls, Sam is there for him, taken for granted, friends since forever.

Jackson produces a ízine that attracts the attention of musician Sonny Spike, deep in the closet, for professional reasons. Spike decides he needs Jackson to write the lyrics for his next album.

A customer in the record shop, Derek, asks Jackson whether he believes in love at first sight.† Jackson ignores this come-on:† his cleancut wholesome look far too boringly vanilla.†

Then Jacksonís hunky countryboy cousin Jed from Iowa shows up, looking to experience all LA has to offer.†

Jackson confuses lust for love.† He has the hots for Jed, but heís worried about incest.† He meets his fantasy in leather pants, Billy, whoís a jerk.† He dismisses Derek because superficially heís not his type.

Sam is a painter who no longer paints.† He tries to talk to Jackson, whoís too self-centred to understand Sam is troubled.

Jed has a beautiful body and we see a lot of it. His torso is signed at a book reading, then heís taken into the desert by lesbian photographer Alyssa, for a filmshoot, posed naked and painted against the beautiful Mohave. Jackson jerks off wearing only Jedís t-shirt.† Thereís some S&M that didnít convince me.

Jackson is endearing.† Rather naÔve too.† Spike takes his love songs, but changes the words for his straight audience.

Billy shows what a creepy jerk he is.† Spike is loathsome and pathetic.† Jackson finally gets that thereís more than one kind of love, itís the only thing that matters and itís more than sexual attraction.† The lesson comes with sadness but the ending offers hope that Jacksonís life will have more meaning and less empty sex, that the Ďlusterí has tarnished on his old ways..

The film is uneven.† Its rock bottom budget shows, neither pretty nor polished, but works in its setting.† Dialogue sometimes canít be heard for background noise and lighting isnít always adequate.† Some ropey acting too.† But there are good ideas and honest emotions.† The most interesting character is Sam whose role isnít developed nearly enough.† I think heís straight but wishes he wasnít. The film closes with a beautiful and moving poem about love.† I thought a lot about the characters, so something struck a cord.† If you donít expect too much I think you might enjoy the movie, as I did.