Into the rural town of Pine Apple arrives the manly physique of Lee Todd; a free spirited drifter who temporarily takes up residence on a farm tended to by one Griffith Burns; a handsome young man seemingly trapped in the habitual routine of seeing to the red dirt fields by day, and by night his one step short of the madhouse, agoraphobic Aunt Summer. Becoming close friends real quick, it isn't long before their endless days spent together repairing the old farm cottage prompts cousin Emily to question - just what kind of a friend is Lee?
The answer is a man who is giving Griffith many a sleepless night courtesy of their sealed in blood resolution to head off together, once the cottage repairs are finished. Only with the final lick of paint applied, is Griffith prepared to leave his eccentric Aunt, let alone end his intimate relationship with his cousin, for a man who just a few weeks ago was a complete stranger?
With lush cinematography throughout, this laid-back tale of suppressed sexuality and family secrets is a melodramatic, if overlong dialogue-laden experience. Then again, its length and meandering pace aptly reflect the drowsily atmosphere of a hot Mississippi day. For it is here that writer and director Tag Purvis excels, his assured sense of
storytelling showcasing a man whose dreams of escaping the shackles of southern life, are set to see him embark on a journey of self-discovery.
To that end, Dan Montgomery as Griffith Burns and Walton (of TVs The Shield fame) Goggins as Lee Todd deliver achingly real portrayals of two men who come to share something more than just friendship, their raw feelings upstaging the emotional turns of Aleksa Palladino as jilted Emily and Karen Black as a woman steeped in guilt and remorse.
Beautifully shot and scored, this is a feature as far removed from city life as you can get, an exquisite film let down for some by way of its conclusion, coupled with the relative lack of physical contact between the two male leads. That said and like Brokeback Mountain, at its core this is a heart-rending tale of homosexual affection, namely a visually stunning Tennessee Williams styled story of two men, forever and a day, in love with each other. Need more be said?
available on DVD as part of the Winstar catalogue
starring: Karen Black, Walton Goggins, Aleksa Palladino, Dan Montgomery,
Peg O'Keef, Glenn Shadix, Jo Ann Robinson