FILM REVIEW | Blackmail Boys24th April 2015
When gay art student Sam ‘came out’ to his parents they disowned him and cut him off without a cent.
Faced with high tuition fees, rent and living expenses to find in Chicago, he resorted to turning tricks as it pays so much better than any other manual labour. However when Aaron his long-term long-distance boyfriend moved to town and in with him, he resented the way that Sam earns his living.
The first time one of Sam’s paying clients came for his weekly rough and tumble, the more worldly Aaron recognised him as an infamous gay-bashing bigot that had just written yet one more book denouncing the ‘evil ways of homosexuality. After his ‘appointment’ was over Aaron suggested that when the man came back for his next hook-up, that he should secretly film the whole naked encounter and use it to blackmail him. Not only would it possibly expose the hypocrite to the whole world, but if he wanted to buy the tape to keep them quiet, they could make enough money to insure that Sam could retire from his call boy career.
It was a rather inconsequential plot for a lightweight movie made by the somewhat anonymous Shumanski filmmaking brothers from South Africa. Like their previous gay-themed movie Wrecked there is an abundant amount of full frontal nudity and explicit sex that at times just feels like porn with a plot. Its redeeming feature is its mumble core approach to filming (not often used in gay movies) that gave the whole piece an edgy feel to it.
On the acting side indie actor/director Joe Swanberg who’s first ‘big’ feature Drinking Buddies was recently released to critical acclaim, plays the angry client Andrew Tucker. Looking at Swanberg’s resume to date you can see that he rarely keeps his clothes on through a whole movie, so it seemed no big deal for this straight actor to have explicit gay sex on screen. Interesting also to see young Nathan Adloff (playing Sam) in front of the camera after being so very impressed with his own writing/directing debut in a delightful sleeper from last year’s Nate & Margaret.
It’s a harmless piece of boy-lite fare that by trying to push our buttons by what it thinks is daring, will only have us reaching for the remote control to skip over all those parts which fall flatter than some of the sexual encounters, to get to the end quicker.