This is a very enjoyable movie, and pretty well lives up to its catch line: A movie for connoisseurs of male eye candy.
Dean, the gorgeous David Sutcliffe, is in love with Pablo. Pablo disappears and desperate for some closure, Dean traces him to Argentina. His increasingly fraught search for Pablo is pretty realistic—it’s utterly useless, because he’s an American in a country of secrets where he doesn’t speak the language.
It appears that Pablo is part of some kind of family conspiracy that Dean can’t untangle. In the search he meets the sexy Nico, who he tries to resist as he was monogamous with Pablo.
This movie is a cut above many of the gay movies we’ve seen. The acting is excellent, especially Sutcliffe’s, who is in every scene. The hot, sultry atmosphere of Argentina is well captured the film is visually very satisfying.
Some of the sex scenes, whilst never graphic, are very hot. These are very masculine men, kissing and the body chemistry sizzles off the screen.
However, this film would never stand up without the “gay” tag, because it’s very muddled in places and seems a weird mix of genuine emotion and comedy and sits uneasily between the two. This leads me down a huge rabbit hole of a discussion as to whether gay movies should be allowed some license not to come up to the standards of mainstream movies. I happen to believe that they can’t and won’t until they have more money to attract better actors, better locations, better production quality. Which is why this movie is so annoying in some ways—it has all that! It has great actors; it has a wonderful location; it looks great on the screen.
It wasn’t until I read the book that I saw where this movie went so wrong. Basically, it picked the wrong book. It tried to stay faithful to the original for about, oh, one scene, then it couldn’t follow where the book had gone (I’m not sure any movie could).
As I said though, compared to most of the other gay movies we’ve seen, this is highly recommended for the sexy look and beautiful men and the attempt at a real plot.
This film starts out a sweet gay romance, told over the opening credits in comic book style: Dean & Pablo meet and fall in love, set up house, then live happily ever after…not. For Pablo has disappeared. Went out for ciggies one day and never came back. Dean’s got to produce a sequel to popular graphic novel, Speed Freak. Missing Pablo, he can’t concentrate on anything but tracking down the roaming Romeo. Pablo’s witchy mother (glamorous Sonia Braga) tells Dean her son has moved back home to Buenos Aires. Dean can’t accept that love is over. So naturally he hops onto a plane for the 15 hour flight to Argentina, to find his lover, despite total inability to speak Spanish.
Based on a novel by James Robert Baker (Tim & Pete), this attempt at a noirish thriller is neither as dark nor as subversive as it tries to be. Though there are moments of black humour, mostly it’s played for laughs, so serious moments feel out of place. The narrative is confused. Characters lack motivation, and the whole thing is a muddled mess. Though it looks good, more mainstream movie than low budget indie. David Sutcliffe who plays Dean, is handsome with a great physique, and sexy stubble, but that’s not enough to carry the film. And he’s just too pleasant to be believable in the part.
Pablo is certainly pretty. There’s some sexy man-on-man action, including an ever-so-brief full frontal. But we don’t know enough about their relationship to explain Dean’s fixation. Pablo hardly features in the movie. Not knowing what’s happened to him makes for tension, with Dean turning detective to follow his elusive trail, but it’s hard to care. Pablo’s family is politically powerful and well connected. But that doesn’t go anywhere. Dean hooks up with Sofia from the café opposite Pablo’s family home, who helps Dean in his quest. He meets mysterious Marcos in a bookshop, and he tags along too. However, no one is what they appear to be; they’re all inter-connected, a tangle of secrets, lies, and deceit. Dean is confused and so was I.
Dean is supposed to have this obsessive love, yet he’s tempted by a delectable bell-boy and takes sexy Marcos back to the hotel for a bout of recreational sex. I didn’t get the impression he’s a man with a broken heart. The story lacks direction and depth, more convoluted kinky melodrama than passionate erotic thriller, so lacks real emotional impact. What held my attention was the eye candy, Buenos Aires backdrop and male kissage. What I wanted was an exploration of the dark side of love, sexual obsession with erotic passion. In the last section we get a hint of that, but given what goes before it’s comedic more than chilling. Disappointing but probably worth a look for the…ahem…scenery. I’m waiting for LadyM to send me the book.
Buy Testosterone (REGION 1) (NTSC) from Amazon here