a film by Damion Dietz
2008 | 90 mins | US
›› Dog Tags
a road movie with a difference, Marine style.
Dog Tags by Damion Dietz This touching relationship drama shines its spotlight on the story of two troubled souls whose ‘odd couple’ friendship helps them get through life.

For raised by a mother who refuses to shed any light on the identity of the father who abandoned her son and with a fiancée eager for that all important engagement ring, forever pensive Nate enlists in the US Marines, only to discover the reality of a basic armed forces wage. Picked up on his way to the local jewellers by an Uncle Sam with a difference, Nate finds himself the unwilling subject of an Amateur Military Men Exposed porno shoot, one that sees him promptly heading for the nearest exit, alongside gay runaway Andy who thereafter secures Nate’s help to fix his worn-out car, thereby enabling both to take a journey on life’s road together.

In short, this is a road movie with a difference. Only the difference is not a revealing insight into the US government’s controversial Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, even if those four words are to be found in the publicity for this feature. Rather this is a film about responsibility, life’s goals and if any fatherhood, given Andy is the often absent father of a young child, courtesy of a night of sexual confusion. Yet it is Nate’s own confusion that dominates throughout; unsure of who his real father is, where he’s going in life, let alone if a career in the Marine Corps or a life AWOL is for him. Oh then there’s his sexuality, being more than willing to share the same bed in more ways than one with Andy, whilst being officially straight to the outside world.

Dog Tags by Damion Dietz To that end, both Paul Preiss as Nate and Bart Fletcher as eyeliner clad goth Andy handle their opposing roles with considerable charm, whilst the supporting cast offer a mix of uneven and compelling work that realistically depicts the anxieties faced by those you leave behind, whatever your calling be.

Only and in knowing his target audience, Dietz hooks you in the opening reel with a West Hollywood styled party that comes complete with a couple of manly members on view, before the true narrative begins. It is one in which Andy’s unrequited love for a Marine turns into a surreal love making sequence that in many ways sums the whole film up, given a heart-rendering romance between the two central characters is not what this feature is about. For this is a work that ultimately concerns itself with two lost souls who help each other find their way in life. Only in doing so, it could have said so much about the US attitude to homosexuality within the ranks, but in the end preferred to concentrate on a story that ends as it began, with a clean slate. Need more be said?

Gay Visibility - Overt. 
Nudity - a couple of manly members on view. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 
available on DVD as part of the TLA Releasing UK catalogue
starring: Paul Preiss, Bart Fletcher, Amy Lindsay, Hoyt Richards, Willam Belli,
Barry J Ratcliffe, Diane Davisson, Keythe Farley and Candy Clark
Copyright 2010 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #270
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