›› Bruno & Earlene Go to Vegas
a film by Simon Savory.
2013 | 95 mins | UK.
principal players: Miles Szanto / Bruno, Ashleigh Sumner / Earlene, Barbie-Q / Jessie, Antony Cherrie / Kyle, Barrett Crake / Billy, Janice Danielle / Sheriff, Eileen Hertz / Jean Goodsprings, Ross William Wild / Brody and with Cassandra Peterson as Artie Duke and Greg Travis as The Fixer.
Adapted Synopsis: "Escaping from a discovery that she was unprepared for, headstrong Earlene is soon to be found making friends with the mysterious Bruno; a wandering Australian teenager with a tendency for "borrowing" people's homes when they're away on holiday, that is when not considering more extreme ways to score some cash. Taking the youth under her wing, they leave the sights and sounds of Venice Beach behind them and set out into the desert to find themselves."
In his eagerly anticipated feature debut, British born writer and director Simon Savory of the short film We Are Fine fame has taken the often stale road movie format and injected it with some much needed joie de vivre, thanks to those wondrous folk who exist on the fringe of life. Only this is not your typical gay film, per se. Rather and in true road movie fashion, it's a work all about finding yourself, given the journey of self-discovery underpins the narrative, one that finds Earlene aid Bruno in search of his dream building, by way of the neon lights of Las Vegas and in particular the bright light city's version of the Eiffel Tower.
Only this is a story divided into two acts. For just when you're getting to know Bruno and Earlene and their newfound friend Billy, aka Mr Eye Candy in the form of an ever so homoerotic "hose me down" sequence that's guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, Savory introduces an ensemble of new characters to his work, as the three encounter the residents of the nowhere town of Gold Point, Nevada. Rejoicing in the sexual rainbow of life, it is here that Savory has gone out of his way to showcase a desert utopia in which all are welcome; be you LGBTQI or even STR8. No surprise to learn that such a place is one that Bruno finds himself drawn to for reasons that now become clear, as the narrative finally reveals the reason behind his visit to a mysterious LA based medical clinic. Yet Earlene has issues of her own, setting the stage for the emotional relationship crossroads of the film.
The value of friends and family, in Bruno & Earlene Go to Vegas.
Sure and as with many a road movie, a few eccentricities can be found in the cinematic mix and this is no exception, as a gun-toting standoff of the "what happened next?" variety juxtaposes with a number of curious inserts, together with an in-house commentary courtesy of Cassandra Peterson as radio DJ Artie Duke and here cue her closing line "it sure as hell made for good company." And I couldn't agree more. For this beautifully crafted work is but a captivating testament to the value of friends and family, one that resonates with the sheer joy of the sexual diversity of life. Indeed and to his credit, Savory has taken time out to shine the spotlight on his cast of supporting players. Yet whilst the like of a pair of Scottish male strippers, an ex show girl, an alcoholic Cher lookalike turned sheriff, a drag queen and even officers of the LA police department make you privy to their personal lives, it's the central bond between Miles (Drowning) Szanto and Ashleigh (And Then Came Lola) Sumner that dominates, with Szanto pitch perfect in a sexual identity that's seldom discussed.
Complimented by Eben Bolter's lush cinematography that vividly captures the sun-baked palette of the desert landscape, together with a delectably good cast that further includes Ross William (Downing) Wild as Brody, namely the lovable straight boy of the piece, only for his best friend Kyle, aka Antony Cherrie to fall for the manly charms of Barrett Crake as Billy and you have a sure winner, packed as it is with a series of neat touches, including an ending that's as warm and engaging as the people featured within. Wonderfully refreshingly; frankly this is a downright entertaining debut and definitely a trip, worth taking.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek.
Overall - file under ... 4 stars.