Feb 6, 2009

[Movies] Dog Tags (2008)

Dog Tags (2008)My recent efforts to find new LGBT movies of interest seems to have been generally successful as of late, and thus the recent reviews. There's a certain degree of fulfillment in finding movies like these that aren't as common and are terribly unlikely to be shown locally given the highly conservative and Catholic nature of this country (or at least its government).

Let's face it, the Philippines is a place that will only possibly accept LGBT themes if (1) the film as tagged as an "independent" film or (2) the roles of LGBT characters are limited to that of comic relief.

This particular film turned out to be rather serious and pretty interesting in the long run, which gives me continued faith in the future of LGBT film.

Dog Tags is yet another LGBT film released by TLA Releasing, the same people who brought us movies like Luster and Another Gay Movie. Pretty diverse examples, I know, but that's what they do, it seems. They also helped release The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros, locally known as Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros. Snaps for TLA!

The movie follows the life of the sexually ambiguous Nate (Paul Preiss) who agrees to join the marines in order to support his girlfriend. On leave from basic training, he encounters Andy (Bart Fletcher), a young gay man with Hollywood aspirations and the two eventually bond after Nate discovers his girlfriend had been cheating on him while he was away. What follows is the development of an interesting bond of friendship between the two as Nate continues his search for his father, while exploring his sexuality at the same time.

I have to admit that even as I compose this entry, I'm not entirely sure if I captured the crux of the film in that brief synopsis. It's definitely one of the more complicated LGBT films that I've seen and initially I wasn't too impressed by it. Over time as I've had a chance to think things over a bit more, new insights have come to me and I can understand that the filmmakers were trying to present a multidimensional story with more facets that what initially appears at first viewing.

The lead, Paul Preiss, was quite the surprise as an actor, and I'm not just saying that because he pulls of the lean and muscular marine look very well, hehe. He brings a certain intensity to the film even during moments or sequences that probably could have been better directed or better written and I wouldn't mind seeing him in more films. Well, there's that and he looks rather good shirtless with just a pair of dog tags hanging off his chest, hehe.

I can also see that this won't necessarily be a film meant for everyone and many people may find parts of the film long and dragging while others will feel that it may be deeply introspective and revolutionary somehow. Such is the nature of such independent films at times and thus the diverse range of reactions that are bound to come along.

At the end of things, all I can say is that you need to have a generally open mind when you sit down to watch this movie, try to enjoy it for what it is and from there we'll know whether or not this film was truly worth its mettle. If not, the enjoy Preiss if you're into lankier guys like that, hehe.


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