›› Solo - Alone
a film by Marcelo Briem Stamm.
2013 | 77 mins | Argentina.
starring: Patricio Ramos / Manuel, Mario Verón / Julio, Carlos Echevarría / Horacio, Laura Agorreca / Vicky and Mike Zubi as Maxi.
Adapted Synopsis: "Still feeling the pain of relationship blues, yet bored with being on his own, cutie Manuel opts to take his chat room bond with sexy Julio to a more intimate level, courtesy of a real life encounter with the man himself, one that is set to see the spark of passion ignite the sexual chemistry between the two. Getting it on and in more ways than one, the two men come to reveal their innermost thoughts to each other, whilst ever wary of being hurt again. But are the revelations all that they seem?"
Rounding off what has turned out to be a hat trick of reviews of Argentine films for the boys, this, the debut feature from writer and director Marcelo Briem Stamm is a menacing, if sensuous tale of love and deception.
Sexy in all the right moments, yet equally terrifying in others, here we find Stamm play with the theme of the mysterious stranger and a hook-up that from the high of love and sweet romance, is soon to descend into a low of minacious intent. The result is a rollercoaster ride of plot twists, as the two men break-up and makeup in equal measure, dreaming of running away to start a new life together; only for the narrative to hint that things are not going to turn out well. It's a scenario that Stamm delights in, delivering clues, piecemeal fashion, courtesy of a series of critical to the plot flashback sequences that feature Carlos Echevarría of Absent fame as Horacio; namely the man that once was the love of Manuel's life.
Who are you hooking up with tonight? in Solo.
Shot with the minimal of staging, but with the dialogue poignantly juxtaposing the emotions of two men yearning for a loving relationship, with words that point to dark deeds ahead, this feature wonderfully illustrates what can be dramatically accomplished with just a handful of players. Only this is a work that revolves around man-candy stars of the show Patricio Ramos as Manuel and Mario Verón as Julio and here and in a very sensual style, they do not disappoint, their physical attraction to each other rampant from day one, along the way taking Argentine cinema to a level of gay sexual intimacy, rarely seen outside the films of Marco Berger and Marcelo Mónaco. Indeed, many will no doubt recognize Verón as the sexy tattoo artist from the opening instalment of the Sexual Tension series of erotic short films, only to be cast here as a man with an overly keen interest in Manuel's bank account, armed with a narrative that includes the ominous "I could do anything I wanted to you and no one would find out" line.
The man of your dreams or nightmares? in Solo.
As a psychological thriller, much is made of the love between the two men, as seemingly endless scenes of man-on-man lip-service and more, give way to tender moments of the two discussing their hopes and dreams. A classic setup that is effectively used to deliver the shocking, if not entirely unexpected conclusion, given the "happy ever after" scenario was never on the agenda, even if Stamm strikingly shifts the power play between the two men, so as to keep you guessing. Well played throughout; frankly Argentine cinema must be rejoicing in its latest voice.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - the full monty.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.