Shiner

Ladymol's Review

Thank God for fast-forward.

This is probably the biggest waste of an evening yet.

A man and woman in orange light get it on while a man in green light doesnít and some men in the dark beat each other up.

If you are even slightly tempted to give this a go hoping it might be the gay fight club, then donít.


Cerisaye's Review

This is one seriously disturbing film, described as the gay Fight Club, but by opening the lid on extreme violence and sexual desire reminded me more of FriskWe see disturbing images both sickening and highly erotic.† The viewer as voyeur, complicit with the characters.† They behave badly.† They swear like troopers.† With dialogue and photography like something out of a porno- and sound effects to match.† Itís the usual ultra low budget independent.† The actors might be amateurish but they convey honest emotion and give their all.

Itís not exactly a gay movie, as only two characters identify as gay.† Another example of the way labels are totally inadequate.† Homophobia, however, is a dominant theme.

Tony & Danny arenít gay but they get horny when together.† They go to a gay bar and pick up a Ďfagí Danny forces to perform oral sex.† Then they beat each other up.† Graphically, with sickening violence.† That only inflames repressed desire.† Danny has Tony gut punch him, to prove heís a man, therefore not Ďqueerí.† Then they masturbate together.† Itís an interesting dynamic because Danny looks like the dominant half but heís not.

Tony & Danny are f****d up but at least they let it all out, however ugly that gets. Tim is a boxer, and Bob the attendant at his gym has a crush on him.† A seemingly sweet, timid gayboy, he's increasingly creepy, stalking Tim obsessively.† He steals a pair of his trainers for sexual fantasies.† In an amusing scene Bob furiously masturbates, while Mom stands outside the bedroom door with milk & cookies.† But when Tim confronts Bob, he doesnít want to act out his fantasies.† While Tim is so full of self-loathing he canít accept heís anyoneís object of desire.†

Intercut with all this we observe a straight couple with a shared fetish for sexual violence, the woman a blonde dominatrix who likes to beat up her compliant boyfriend.† They seem happy and mutually satisfied.

Thereís blood everywhere, even used as lube.† Yet no one seems bothered about HIV infection and there isnít a condom in sight.† So, a film thatís terribly unPC, showing outrageous behaviour from characters obviously confused as we are.† Men who act tough and macho, strong by outward appearance, all muscle and bravado.† Yet consumed by inner self-hate, confusion and conflict.†

Itís very intense.† The characters are difficult to understand.† Maybe itís a guy thing, too much testosterone?† Pure animal lust.† Like the car crash we canít help look at as we drive by, you feel guilty, even dirty, after.† Images of bloodied and battered bare bodies undeniably erotic, desire painted in pain, red and mottled purple stark against pale flesh.

Itís not for everyone.† It isnít pleasant and Iím uncomfortable that it appears to equate same-sex attraction with kink and fetish.† However, it reflects an aspect of sexuality we canít pretend doesnít exist because weíre uncomfortable.† It cocks a deliberate snook at elements in the gay community who see conformity and assimilation as the way to acceptance.

I felt like the woman in Spanish thriller Tesis who stumbles across a snuff movie network, confronting horrific images she knows she should hide from but just canít help taking a peek.† I hesitate to recommend the film but if itís something that intrigues you, itís worth a look.† The fun commentary with writer/director and actors puts it all into perspective.

Buy Shiner (REGION 1) (NTSC) from Amazon