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SIFF: August - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
SIFF: August
Directing: B
Acting: B
Writing: B-
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B+

August probably seems "fresh" and different to a lot of viewers, simply by virtue of its love-triangle subject matter being gay in nature. Indeed, I can't recall any other "gay-themed" movie that was quite the same. The problem is, if at least one of the guys had been a woman, then it would be like countless other movies. Aside from the nature of the sex scenes, we've seen it all before.

At least the actors are easy on the eyes. They're actually pretty good actors too. This is an effective way to distract us from the fact that the script, by director Eldar Rapaport, is eminently predictable.

When Troy (Murray Bartlell) returns from Spain to his hometown of L.A. and looks up his ex-boyfriend Jonathan (Daniel Dugan), only to find out Jonathan is now in a committed relationship with Raoul (Adrian Gonzalez), we instantly know where this is heading. The added complication of Raoul having legally married one of their mutual friends in order to stay in the country -- a subplot everyone seems oddly blasé about -- does nothing to change this.

Troy and Jonathan had a passionate summer fling five years ago. Troy moved to Spain -- for what exactly, we never find out -- and Jonathan took ages to get over him. Raoul is well familiar with the story and understandably reluctant to warm up to Troy upon his return. As soon as Raoul's back is turned, Jonathan inevitably ends up at Troy's place, and they've got their tongues down each other's throats. (This scene in particular, the two of them sitting on the couch and suddenly lunging at each other, just made me think: I saw that coming a mile away.) The fall into an affair.

Granted, there is a modern sensibility to August and its approach to gay relationships, notably devoid of drama where sex is concerned. Instead, Raoul seems to come to a point of resignation. This is still a story of how such circumstances affect relationships. Rapaport just doesn't have anything particularly new to say about it.

What he does have are some clever ways of telling it. The scenes are edited together in an unusually intriguing way, often mixing the timeline so that we see, say, later in the afternoon before we see that same morning. It actually adds some depth to the storytelling.

In short, August is deceptively unoriginal but still has multiple ways of being nice to look at. The actors are just as improbably attractive as any in much more mainstream movies, and their performances are generally solid enough to keep you engaged and emotionally invested. And it's never too much of a challenge to piece together the sequencing of events, but rather kind of fun. This is a movie that simply makes a nice distraction, generally forgettable but entertaining and sexy in its way.

Daniel Dugan and Murray Bartlett are two sides of a gay love triangle in 'August'.

Overall: B
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