a short film adaptation by Curtis James Salt.
2014 | 17 mins | US.
principal players: Adam Rose / twins Garrett and Pearce, Ashley-Sarah Price / Helen, Brianne Cordaro / Mindy, Matthew Eriksen / Jack, Shannon Muhs / Mother, Michelle Banning / Vivian, Jordan Mitchell-Love / Andrew, Brad Hemesath / Bill, Garrett Berna / Ryan and with James Donnelly as Miles.
Official Synopsis: "A non-narrative story about twin brothers and the danger one of them puts everyone in by pursuing the sport of bodybuilding, by any means necessary."
Edited from over 15 hours worth of footage that was shot as a promo styled trailer to represent Curtis James Salt's award winning screenplay of the same name and adapted here into the short film medium, the result is but a mouth-watering appetizer of a work that's all but crying out to be showcased in its feature film format. And personally, I would love to see that, given this is nothing short of a tantalizing glimpse of what could be; that of a loose adaptation of the feature length script, as told chapter, if not character fashion, being and in the main devoid of dialogue.
A decidedly dark tale of the pursuit for physical perfection, in Adonis.
Sure, that's the drawback of a work of this nature; not the minimal use of dialogue, given composer Justin Bell does an inspired job of filling in such narrative gaps, along the way creating a striking rendition of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Rather, such gaps only serve to illustrate that key sections of the screenplay remain untold, scenes that were either not filmed, or relegated to the cutting room floor. And that's a shame, because here we find Salt delight in luring you in with a seductive story of the pursuit for physical perfection, only to conclude his tale in a far more shocking fashion. Between then and now however, we learn of the lives of twin brothers Garrett and Pearce; both keen bodybuilders competing against each other in an upcoming competition, yet differing in their sexualities, with Garrett having fallen head over heels for talented dancer Helen, only for Pearce to work as a go-go boy at a nightclub, one where he's destined to meet boyfriend-to-be Jack. Estranged at first, their respective partners help reconcile the differences between the twins; yet all is not as it seems. For behind all of the flexing and posing, a secret admirer lurks in the shadows, one who is determined to ensure that only one of the brothers wins - at any price.
In short and in as much as real life bodybuilder Adam Rose is perfectly cast as the identical siblings of the piece, flaunting his ripped torso in front of the camera one moment, whilst letting his lips find both female and male attention the next, the true workout here lies in the film's decidedly dark closing scenes, namely a dramatic finale that employed over 1000 photos to downright disturbing effect. And yet, something is missing; well, quite a lot actually. Not that this is a criticism; rather it's a reflection of the adaptation itself, given this work has clearly been edited from a myriad of differing scenes, offering a riveting, if all too fragmented interpretation of its feature length script.
Beautifully scored and staged however, and packed with more muscle than what you can shake a posing trunk at, this rollercoaster ride of an adapted short will haunt you long after the end credits have rolled, thanks to its gripping macabre twist. A foretaste of the feature it deserves to be; let's hope so.
Not that this review ends here, for I'm going to get on my soapbox and say it like it is; given it's SO refreshing to see a director committed to the art of PROMOTION. Frankly, I've lost count of the number of short films I've reviewed in which trying to find a promotional still, let alone poster work is an uphill struggle. Not here. For this is a perfect lesson in the art of promotion, being complete with official poster work, a two minute trailer (including a few scenes not included in the master edit), an official website jam-packed with publicity stills, marketing materials and behind-the-scenes photos, not overlooking the music by composer Justin Bell available online for all to enjoy - check out soundcloud.com/adonissoundtrack. Frankly, this is an exemplary and sadly all too rare occurrence of a director dedicated to the short film medium and moreover that of its promotion, given a directors' work should not end when they leave the editing room. Filmmakers - take note of the importance of promotion.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - from the waist up.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.