[EDITOR'S NOTE: This review is part of a series of posts on this film. The Nick and Tuc portion of this series consist of a published interview with star Tuc Watkins and an upcoming post on a chat with producer/director/writer Nick Corporon.]
Increasingly art-house gay-film oriented breaking glass pictures continues its run of releasing movies with central characters that are boys who like boys whose stories are relatable to everyone all along the Kinsey Scale with the topic du jour. This one hits the big screen on January 6, 2017 and DVD on the following Tuesday. The beautiful Southwest scenery and the opportunity for a special date night make seeing it in a theater worthwhile.
The universal theme this time is in the form of the titular do-over relating to a strong urge to put right what once went wrong. In that regard, "Retake" is similar to the recent (Unreal TV released) glass release "Lazy Eye" in which two men reunite 15 years after an abrupt and traumatic end to their love-at-first-sight relationship.
The following YouTube clip of the "Retake" trailer nicely highlights the retro look and stylistic approach of this film in which the past plays an integral role.
The current character study centers around middle-aged top-dog Jonathon, who comes to San Francisco as the first step in his process to resolve anxiety regarding an incident from roughly 20 years ago The literal partner-in-crime that he requires is a rent boy who can play the role of a past love.
An unnamed hustler passes the initial test and agrees to accompany Jonathon on a road trip to the Grand Canyon for the right price. The long dark hair and valley boy persona of this street boy that brings to mind an actor whose almost interchangeable early roles include a part in the awesome 1991 Gus Van Sant drama "My Own Private Idaho" earn this "Retake" character the name "Keanu" for purposes of this interview.
"Desperate Housewives" star/soap actor Tuc Watkins does a good job as the distraught Jonathon whose quest for inner peace always gets thwarted. Textbook "the guy who was in that thing" character actor Devon Graye does equally well as the 20-something guy who adopts whatever personality a customer requires in order allow Keanu to avoid dealing with his own tortured past.
The clear (and of course ultimately vilated) rules of the trip are that Keanu must never break character in the role play that Jonathon requires, must never ask Jonathon a personal question, and must always do everything that Jonathon tells him to do. The last rule leads to Keanu having the best lines in the film. He first asks if "everything" includes wearing a diaper and another specific humiliating act and then states his willingness to do so.
As is the case in every good film, "Retake" slowly reveals the full story regarding Jonathon wanting to go to exceptional extremes to recreate a road trip from his youth. Keanu becoming increasingly intrigued and embracing his role more fully is equally interesting.
The drama amps up as Keanu comes closer to the truth and to becoming more of his own true self as he bonds with Jonathon, who is still struggling with his past. This aspect of the film reflects the truth regarding any sexual role play that the individuals in the room really are not the characters whom they are portraying.
Although typically less dramatic than the circumstances in "Retake" (but often comparable to the events in "Eye,") most of us have the one who got away whom we never stop loving and would go to varying lengths to get back. Additionally, many of us are fortunate enough to find a forever someone with a spark of the person who gave us a special (but too short) period in our teens or 20s.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Retake" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.