07 November 2012

Keep the Lights On (Ira Sachs, 2012, USA)

This more or less autobiographical drama is about a documentary filmmaker who takes a break from cheap flings long enough to have a years long frustrating relationship with a crack addict. In the lead role is Thure Lindhardt, whom I recognized from Danish films Flame & Citron and Brotherhood, both of which I probably liked better than this movie. Lindhardt plays Erik, the documentary filmmaker who spends a lot of time on those phone lines that existed before people starting hooking up through websites like gay.com and manhunt. Because much of the film takes place in the 90s, in Manhattan. It's one of those movies where you can always tell what year it is by what cell phone someone is using. Anyway, he hooks up with Paul (Zachary Booth) and gets smitten with him even though he's basically a closeted homosexual with a crack problem.

For me, the film was too cavalier about all the drugs. I guess it reminded me of my own life in the 90s, to some extent, but I feel like the weakness of this film is that the director seems too uncritical of the character based on himself. He's a sweet and likeable character, but I ultimately didn't find him believable. I almost felt by the end of the film that the director used it in such a way as to grant himself absolution for something.

I liked the film, I guess, but something about it seemed flat to me.

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