Dark Moments ( A River Made to Drown In)

Ladymol's Review

The acting in this movie is so good itís like watching a stage play, but itís got fabulous technical quality, direction and editing as well. Itís pretty much the perfect film.

Thaddeus, a cultured lawyer is dying of AIDS and visits one of his ex-tricks, Allen, who is now a struggling artist with a rich girlfriend. Thaddeus wants Allen to find another trick, Jamie. Allen has to visit his old life to try and find Jamie.

Everything about this film is moving, dramatic, wonderfully acted. Sure, thereís not really any gay sex, but there is a thread of pure emotion running all through it. What was Thaddeus to Allen? Why is he really looking for Jamie?

Richard Chamberlain gives a wonderful performance as Thaddeus. Itís campy, over the top, but has this incredible vein of pure, genuine emotion. I remember him being called The Most Beautiful Man in the World, and he clearly remembers those days but isnít afraid to play this aging man. Amazing. Michael Imperiloi gives a superb performance as Allen: a man truly lost.

Itís very hard to get hold of this film. It also goes by the name River Made to Drown In.

Believe me, itís well worth the effort to find.

Cerisaye's Review

A proper story with sympathetic characters, romantic drama thatís also very funny and very well played.† I really liked the movie, though if you read other reviews itís supposed to be a turkey.† Donít believe them!†

Gorgeous Michael Imperioli is Alan, melting Italian features and a mop of curly dark hair, beautiful James Duval is exotic Jaime, American mother and Tibetan father, and Richard Chamberlain perfectly cast as Thaddeus, the English lawyer who match-makes them together.

Alan is a struggling artist with a successful girlfriend, Eva (Ute Lemper), who owns an art gallery.† He lives in LA, in a rundown apartment on Santa Monica Boulevard, overlooking the murky world of Hustler White.† Their relationship looks serious and the sex is good.† Appearances in this film are most deceiving.

Then Alan has a surprising visitor, Thaddeus, a polite and sophisticated gentleman, who invites himself to stay for old timesí sake.† A little the worse for wear turns out to mean Thaddeus has AIDS and has sold everything to come to LA to spend his last days with those closest to him. Initially itís not clear what Alanís relationship was to Thaddeus.† By the time we discover Alan was a hustler polished by Thaddeus, Henry Higgins to Eliza Doolittle, weíre emotionally engaged with characters we know enough not to judge.†† Thaddeus asks Alan to find Jaime, who replaced him after Alan cut and ran 8 years before, so they can both be there when he dies.

Fulfilling Thaddeusí request takes Alan back into the darkness of streetlife he left because it sucked his soul until he felt unworthy of love.† Alan is an ambiguous character who claims to be heartless and cynical, to use people without getting involved.† But his words are at odds with his actions.† Alan denies sex with Thaddeus was anything but business, impossible to believe given the way he obviously cares for the man he says was just another trick.† Emotion he pours into a series of powerful paintings of Thaddeus.

Richard Chamberlain does a terrific job in a difficult part, investing Thaddeus with grace, dignity and irresistible charm.† Almost permanently pickled in cheap red wine, it becomes clear his visit has a purpose other than nostalgia and fear of dying alone.† Though heís got sufficient doubts about Alan and Jaime to say he intends to leave them his money.

Dying concentrates Thaddeusí mind on whatís important.† Alan doesnít like himself enough to love anyone so he erects barriers and affects indifference.† Jaime hustles to raise money to find his father in Tibet, scared to love because he sees what itís done to his emotionally wrecked mother.† He looks for solace in Buddhism, spiritualism at odds with his life of sordid prostitution.†

Thaddeus feels responsible for Alan and Jaime and wants them together.† The apparently selfish whim of a dying man is an attempt at redemption for him and happiness for the boys he loves, human, believable characters, far from perfect but attractive and sympathetic.† Thaddeus with linen suit and ageing English elegance recalls Death in Venice with its melancholy juxtaposition of youth & beauty, decay & despair.† Here, however, thereís hope that uplifts as well as heartbreak.† Though the story glosses over how very young Jaime mustíve been when involved with Thaddeus.† Worse, Thaddeus was already HIV+ when he met Jaime, and probably infected him with the virus.† But those are quibbles that donít matter given the overall quality of the story.† Very highly recommended.†

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