a film by David Gleeson
2003 | 89 mins | Ireland
›› Cowboys & Angels
the growing bond between flatmates of differing sexuality
Cowboys & Angels by David Gleeson Cue Shane, a straight young Irish lad who chances upon a flat-share with Vincent, a charismatic and openly gay fashion student who he knew back in his high school days. Yet that's about all they have in common. For unlike Vincent who is pursuing his goal in life, Shane has forsaken his natural gift of drawing, for life as a Civil Servant and a bored one at that too.

Initially envious of Vincent's joie du vie for life, let alone his close circle of friends, a bond nevertheless develops between the two, only to see it put to the test when Vincent's best friend turns out to be Gemma, star of the local fast food takeaway and a girl to whom Shane has taken a shy liking to. Realising his newfound friend could do with a boost in the sexual confidence stakes, it isn't long before Vincent does a QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY take on him and before you know it, Shane is attracting a lot of attention.

Cowboys & Angels by David Gleeson Unfortunately for him, this includes the eye of the local drug dealer, who sees in Shane the perfect mule by which to aid his drug ferrying ways. Anxious for some easy money by which to finance his art school aspirations, it isn't long before Shane is game for a bit of trafficking, along the way sampling the product in a downward spiral of addiction, one that not only risks destroying his relationship with Vincent, but with the girl of his dreams.

Charting the close friendship between two young men of differing sexuality, this engaging tale of life and love from writer and director David Gleeson is countered by the complexities of a drug related subplot, one that hijacks the light tone of the narrative and in the process turns it into a far more dark and threatening nature. Frankly, we don't want this. What we want to see is more of the growing bond between the two boys and of their time spent together discussing their hopes and dreams.

For whilst Amy Shiels as Gemma is as ever a joy to behold, it is Michael Legge as Shane and Allen Leech as Vincent who create the vibrant on-screen camaraderie of the piece. Only here Gleeson seemingly cannot let things stand, further complicating matters by way of having his male leads sample the sexuality contrary to their nature. But then, this is a work that goes out of its way to show how true friendship transcends sexual preference and moreover how a sexually confident gay man had such a profound influence for the better on a lost straight soul. A pure Irish delight.
screened as part of the 19th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2005
available on DVD as part of the TLA Releasing UK catalogue
starring: Michael Legge, Allen Leech, Amy Shiels, Frank Kelly, David Murray, Colm Coogan,
Maeve McGrath, Sean Power, Alvaro Lucchesi, Nigel Mercier,
Angela Harding, Frank Coughlan
Copyright 2005 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #112
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