the controversial love between a pair of star-crossed lovers
Okay, let's cut to the core and get the controversial subject of this short out in the open. For this is a film about incest. Having said that, do not let the nature of this social taboo put you off. For this is a beautifully shot work that stands head and shoulders above many a gay short I have seen and believe me, I've seen a lot.
Having said that, the subject of sexual relations between blood brothers is one that cannot help but provoke strong reactions. But such is the strength of the celluloid medium and indeed the way that this film has been executed by writer and director James Burkhammer II, that he has seemingly made the love that to this day still dare not speak its name, somewhat cinematically presentable.
For devoid of love from an overbearing father, young Connor takes refuge in his close friendship with his elder sibling Darren. Only when a kiss on the lips signals that his love for his older brother has crossed the moral divide, Darren's fears for their future prove well founded when a parental confrontation over the true nature of their friendship, prompts the two to flee home. Not wanting to spend the rest of their lives on the run and fearing being torn apart if apprehended by the authorities, there appears to be only one option left open to them. Question is - will they take it?
Like the classic Shakespearean tragedy from which the title takes its inspiration, this work also charts the ramifications of the relationship between a pair of star-crossed lovers. Only here the story is not concerned with the enmity between two rival households, but the social taboo that is incest. To his credit, Burkhammer in an impressive film debut manages to depict the requisite act of sexual bonding in a tender manner, shooting it deliberately soft-focus style, so as to showcase not so much the act itself, but more society's attitude to it.
And yet whatever be your personal stance to the emotive issue that is incest, there is no denying the strength of this work. For backed by an atmospheric score by Radio Sloan, this short acts like the final reel of a ninety-minute feature, all of which is more than appropriate given Burkhammer's desire to turn it into full-length duration. Such would clearly aid character development, inparticular in terms of Darcy DeMoss whose sole function would appear to be a cinematic means by which to out the incestuous relationship of the piece. As expected, mother and father team DeMoss and John Wesley Shipp handle the relatively few scenes they have with the proficiency of their craft, whilst JB Ghuman Jr as Darren and Marshall Allman as Connor add a natural sincerity to the portrayal of those who take brotherly love to an all-the-more intimate level.
That such a love remains a social stigma is not in doubt. And yet this emotional work in many ways mirrors the plight of Romeo and Juliet, given both sets of star-crossed lovers find their love for each other at odds with the outside world. In other words and with apologies to the Bard, never was there a gay short of more woe, than this of Darren and his Romeo!
available on DVD as part of the Power Up Films catalogue - 'Girls on Film 4' release
starring: JB Ghuman Jr, Marshall Allman, John Wesley Shipp, Simon Ragaine, Derek Sean Lara, Darcy DeMoss,
Gina Rodgers, Torrey DeVitto, Victor Bevine, Colette Divine, Steven Guy