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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

'Godless' DVD: Loss and Brotherly Emotional and Physical Love

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The QC Cinema division of breaking glass pictures aptly breaks new ground regarding the DVD release of  2015 gay-themed drama "Godless." This sensitive drama tackles the issue of brother-brother incest in the context of the death of both parents. Writer/director/producer Joshua Lim previously tackling the issue of a closeted gay theology student in the QC-released film "The Seminarian" shows that Lim is no stranger to controversial gay-oriented topics.

The following YouTube clip of the "Godless" trailer does a good job showing the family dynamics in this film that goes where most movies fear to tread.

20-something Nate Flanigan narrates the film, which centers around the untimely death of his mother a few years after the equally unexpected passing of his father. The earlier death is the reason for devoted son (and presumably good Catholic Irish boy) making significant sacrifices to move home to emotionally support his mother.

This devotion makes the passing of the mother hit Nate particularly hard; the resulting depression prompts older brother Steven to extend his visit with his brother.

Much of the early part of the film strongly hints at the aforementioned sibling sexual activity that is revealed roughly halfway through "Godless." It is equally clear that Nate is having much more difficulty coping with the cessation of his sexual activity with his brother than Steven, who has steady boyfriend Ray. Ray coming for a visit and sharing a bed with Steven predictably adds more drama than already exists any time that a third wheel becomes a presence in a close friendship, a familial relationship, or a couple. The circumstances of our boys creates a trifecta of trauma regarding those dynamics.

Much of the drama following confirming the full extent of the bond between the brothers is associated with anticipation regarding Nate coming to terms with the current state of his relationship with Steven and the related (no pun intended) expected dropping of the other shoe as to the presence of Ray. Lim does particularly well creating suspense regarding whether Nate "outs" Steven, the compromising circumstances in which a suspicious Ray repeatedly catches the brothers, and whether Steven will confess his "sin" to Ray.

The noteworthy aspect of this sensitive presentation of a delicate topic extends beyond addressing it in the first place. Especially in the context of a gay relationship, the degree to which adolescent experimentation with someone with whom you share a strong bond is love (rather than lust and/or curiosity) and both guys are on the same wavelength enters turbulent waters.

A similar challenge arises when the underlying nature of an experimental relationship makes going public with the romantic aspect of it very risky in terms of acceptance by friends and family. This, in turn, shows that gay men have come a long way Baby but that not all of them can come out of the closet as easily as others. The repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of the military long after marriage equality made great strides is analogous.

On a deeper level, "Godless" forces viewers to consider the extent to which same-sex incest is "icky." The Flanigan brothers being bright and nice, the sexual activity between them being fully consensual, and their couplings not creating the risk of a baby with "issues" suggests that this might be less creepy than a gut reaction likely suggests.

The special features include interviews with the actors who portray les freres Flanigan.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Godless" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

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