a film by Ed Aldridge
2006 | 96 mins | Australia
›› Tan Lines
surfing, sex and coming-of-age, surreal style
Tan Lines by Ed Aldridge Filled with the raging hormones of adolescent youth, Aussie teen Midget is as much into alcohol, music, skateboarding and weed, as he is into riding the waves, or at least being seen carrying a long board. Yet his days spent living the surfing dream are about to be turned upside down when he finds himself drawn to the company of his best friend's older brother Cass; an openly gay surfer who surprises everyone by returning home after four years spent AWOL. As the two embark on a sexually intense affair, Midget feels inspired to contemplate experiencing more of life itself. Only is he mature enough to head off into the wild blue yonder with the man he loves, but who may not necessarily feel the same way about him?

Cinematically surfing the waves, albeit in a difference direction to that of Jonah Markowitz' beautifully crafted tale of gay love that is Shelter, this fresh and inspired approach to an age old theme is as much a vivid picture of a teenager coming to terms with his sexuality, as it is a depiction of a macho community of jock styled surfers. Yet this is far from your standard coming-of-age work. For here writer and director Ed Aldridge takes delight in delivering a totally off the wall feature, mixing rampant sexual desire with some quite bizarre moments and here cue the like of a talking Pope and Virgin Mary.

Tan Lines by Ed Aldridge Thankfully in amongst the surreal mix Jack Baxter as Midget gives a remarkably convincing performance as the testosterone filled youth of the piece, not afraid to get down to sexual basics with Daniel O'Leary who as Cass Masters, may or may not be as worldly wise as what his bravado would have you believe. Yet this remains a deliberately quirky film, with the relationship issues between Midget and his on-screen but never seen mother, paling in the background when compared to the downright odd relationship between eccentric Aunt McQuillan and her niece Alice, prone as she is to a spot of "gardening."

Sure, some of the acting is not up to par and yes, overlong takes are used to pad out the duration. Yet this is also a feature ejaculating with homoerotic overtones, thanks to a bevy of pretty boys whose shirts are hardly ever on, let alone enough man-on-man action to more than work up a sweat. Complete with and as somewhat to be expected, a series of lush shots of sun-drenched beaches caressed by the Pacific Ocean, this marks a coming-of-age tale bursting with originality, being high on wry Aussie wit, if surprisingly low on surfing. Need more be said?

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - sexually sensuous. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue: 9.July.2007 / UK.
starring: Jack Baxter, Daniel O'Leary, Jed Clarke, Curtis Dickson, Lucy Minter, Theresa Kompara, Bob Nobel, Christian Willis,
Don Atkinson, Mary Regan, Bettina Holmes, Christine Greenough, Lorena Arancibia, Joshua Bush, Harry Plato Catterns
and with Giovanni Campolo-Arcidiaco as the Voice of the Pope / St Sebastian, Louisa Hastings Edge
as the Voice of Virgin Mary, Rosanna Scarcella as the Voice of Other Icons
and Justin Smith as The Narrator.
Copyright 2009 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #234
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