Monday, November 24, 2008


BOYSTOWN (Chuecatown) (dir. Juan Flahn, Spain, 2007, 93 mins.) is one of TLA Releasing's latest and most entertaining DVD acquisitions! The film throws a farcical pie in the face of "gay gentrification" of a neighborhood, in which a gay real estate agent (played by Pablo Puyol), who self describes himself as an "Apollo", will murder to create vacancies for his ideal neighborhood. He is pursued by one of the most compelling and fascinating detectives I can remember, played by Rosa Maria Sarda, in a performance that goes beyond derivatives! She is "Jane Tennison" meets "Monk" as her unbridled drive to solve the crime is aided and hampered by her unending list of phobias, as well as her sidekick, who happens to be her son, too. Sarda walks an amazing line between caricature and realism, which allows the rest of the cast freedom to explore the madcap domestic comedy that their subplots involve. The central relationship in the comedy is between a gay couple, who would be most typically described as "bears" and a mother, who is so vilely and profanely played with utter joy by Concha Velasco, that the horrid gay epitaphs that she spews at her "son in law" are so shocking to be forgivable in the context of the farce! She is an incredible force! So much so, that the inevitable confrontation with the killer would seem to be unfair. The pair of boyfriends around which this situation revolves are played with a sincere warmth and honesty that is rarely seen in U.S. cinema. Carlos Fuentes and PepĆ³n Nieto have a real chemistry on screen and display no physical reluctance in displaying their characters' affection for each other.

Director Juan Flahn has staged and paced the film at a breakneck speed! In fact, since it is subtitled, I would suggest that this is NOT a casual viewing! I found that I needed to be exceptionally alert and attentive in order to get into his rhythm in dialogue and editing, without missing the comic inflections and actions of the performers. It almost requires viewer participation in order to move past the subtitling and become part of the comedy. However, by the time the film moves into its outrageous climatic chase, dialogue is nearly unnecessary.

The video transfer is remarkably clear and the sound design is adequate for this "parlor farce". It is in anamorphic widescreen and there are no visible artifacts. The soundtrack only "pops" during the credits, with a remarkably suitable theme.

Unfortunately, for what a blast I had with the film, the disc lacks the extra features one might hope for. In fact, the "Photo Gallery" is almost a TEASE, as there are stills from scenes that were obviously deleted from the final cut. There are "making of" credits in the endroll, and I am tempted to find a Region 2 release of the DVD in case there are Deleted Scenes in its original release in Spain.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by BOYSTOWN! The cover art hardly hints at the joys awaiting in the film! The dvd is available at TLA Video, and the MSRP is $19.99.

Maxxxxx says
re BOYSTOWN: [Cackles!!]

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