Leaving Metropolis

Ladymol's Review

You have to see this movie. Itís pretty much the closest Iíve come yet to this elusive perfect gay movie Iím seeking.

David is a successful artist, blocked. To release his creative juices, he takes a job as a waiter with a small, homey cafť. Matt and Violet, a happily married couple, own the cafť. Matt admires Davidís art; Mattís admiration starts to unblock David and over the creative process of making a series of stunning homoerotic paintings, they fall in love.

This film is genuinely moving. The dialogue is spot on; the emotions wonderfully played. Any film that can come up with the line

How did I ever drown in someone so shallow?

Gets my vote as an intelligent movie. Add to all that great acting and very hot action, you are onto a winner.

The straight man / gay man scenario is a particular favourite of mine: that idea that a man can be totally straight but fall irresistibly in love with one special man. Itís a fanciful idea and hard to portray on screen, but this film does it to perfection. The mix of the art and the passion and the sex and the love is so skilfully done that you are totally carried along with the idea that Matt can be straight, but love David. There are no villains in this film; Violet is a sympathetic women (okay, I have to question why she didnít find her husband sleeping with his best friend intensely sexyóisnít that every womanís dream? Oh, thatís just me, sorry), and you canít hate her, despite her ďroleĒ as the spurned women.

I particularly liked the running theme in the movie of hidden identities. David is a famous painter, but when Matt and Vi hire him, they see him as a waiteróhis mask when heís with them. David rents a room to Shannon a beautiful Transexual waiting for her surgery; Matt, of course, says heís straight, but finds sexual satisfaction inside Davidís body; Vi likes dolls and uses them to decorate her cafť. And they live in Metropolis, home of Superman, a comic hero they all follow and talk about. David sees himself as supermanópresumably because of all his friends, he has survived AIDS. He paints Matt as Superman. But eventually, the disguises have to fall off: these are real people, not superheroes. Itís a moving statement on modern life.

Do get a copy of this film. I donít see how anyone could not find it an amazing experience.

Cerisaye's Review

David is a successful painter in need of inspiration.† He looks for it in part-time work as a waiter. Newlyweds Violet & Matt, owners of the Main Street diner, have no idea their new waiter is famous, or that heís gay.† Until he admits to the latter (ĎHey, Iím a waiterí).† The couple are surprised, but decide Davidís okayÖfor a fag.†

Matt is an aspiring cartoonist.† Once he finds out David dabbles in art, heís desperate to see his etchings.† You can guess where this is going when Matt confides in the gay man that in his final high school year he was in love with his best buddy.†

Davidís roomie, Shannon, is a transexual waiting for the op.† His best friend is bitchy journalist, Kryla, resentful of his fame and fortune.† She links Davidís different lives.† Jealousy and frustration with failure in love, lead to trouble, once she catches on that heís fallen for Mr. Married Guy.

Violet & Mattís marriage is feeling the strain of overwork and familiarity.† When Vi suggests a boyís night out, hubby jumps at the chance to bond with David.† He then goes home for really amazing sex with his wife, who doesnít know whatís hit her.†

Davidís muse has unblocked his creative juices.† He begins a series of stunning homoerotic paintings of Matt.† Some clever inter-cutting of het sex and painting-as-substitute wish fulfilment provides erotic delight.† Both actors playing David & Matt have beautiful bodies, sculpted muscle and terrific definition which theyíre not shy about showing as the camera lingers lovingly giving us an eyeful.

Matt is impressed by Davidís portrait.† Seen through Davidís eyes heís an icon of gay lust.† But heís straight, right?† Or so he insists, when the inevitable happens.† Sensuous, dreamy sex, all hard muscle and hot need.† And then it all starts to fall apart.

The film focuses on the love triangle.† But stage roots (1994) show in a darker side-story dealing with death, that doesnít quite work onscreen, an underdeveloped distraction from the relationship between Matt & David.† Itís there in a picture on Davidís wall, just names painted in black on a white background, all those he knew who died from AIDS.† And Shannonís troubling health problems.† Her character is a sympathetic portrayal of a transexual, the actor bringing real emotion to the role (he looks amazing as a woman).

A running thread never really explained has characters frequently discussing the Superman comic.† One of Davidís pictures of Matt paints him as Superman, so itís symbolic, a man in disguise, living a lie, married and supposedly straight, with Vi as Lois, just not able to see the truth under her nose.

The film asks us to think about love and sexuality, all shades and colours, the meaninglessness of labels, and the search for identity.† Does Matt love David?† Is he using him to satisfy an urge inside all men? Or has meeting David rekindled deeply repressed passion?† Violetís reactions are understandable, but because her character is underused our sympathy goes toward Matt, struggling to reconcile love of his wife with desire for cock & ass.†

Itís messy and cruel.† Bad things do happen to good people.† The characters are complex and donít always do the right thing.† They lie and deceive themselves, with much pain all round.† The ending isnít going to satisfy everyone, though it reflects real life, where we learn from experiences and move on, with hope in our hearts that maybe next time itíll work out.† Remembering those who never got the chance.† I think youíll enjoy this one, as I did.† Great to see Winnipeg, usually that cold & windy place in the middle of Canada, as a moody Metropolis.


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