a film by Ian Powell
2010 | 106 mins | UK
›› Seeing Heaven
a perturbing psychotic, if blatantly homoerotic thriller.
Seeing Heaven by Ian Powell Infused with striking imagery, this psychotic, if blatantly homoerotic thriller showcases a provocative mix of styles, only to surprisingly fail to go for the jugular.

And it all revolves around the fragile state of mind of troubled escort Paul; a young lad more than versed in the ways of selling his body, but not his soul on the London rent boy scene. Yet those eager to pay for the pleasure of sampling his youthful flesh are in for a surprise, given the up close and personal experience he offers arrives with the bonus of his nightmarish visions of his long lost brother Saul. It is a situation that finds would be boyfriends Griffin and Zhivago at odds with Paul's increasingly obsessive hunt for his missing twin. On the edge and with sexual highs the key to opening the door to the dreamscape world of his brother, it is only a matter of time before Paul's quest for the truth brings him in front of a camera, porno style. Only will this prove to be his salvation or his path to self-destruction?

Seeing Heaven by Ian Powell Constantly intercut flashback style, here writer and director Ian Powell delivers a dark and moody examination of the mindset of a disturbed youth. Only for all of its positives, including its often surreal artistic beauty, Paul‘s seemingly endless desire for manflesh makes the whole product descend to the level of cinematic soft porn. Yes, the sex provides him with a series of trip-like glimpses of the bother he never knew and of a masked stranger who in true Friday the 13th fashion, is best avoided, but neither the sex, nor the thrills push the envelope when needed, with Alexander Bracq's emotional depth clearly not up to the task in hand. Not that he's alone here, in a film that prides itself in extending intellectual nods to Narcissus and the like, including a play on the "own reflection in a pool" myth and here cue the famous painting by Caravaggio.

To his credit Powell take time out to raise concerns over unsafe sex, just as it is all but apparent that he is on a mission to explore themes around gay sexuality and in particular the emptiness of soulless sex. Yet this is a perturbing, if somewhat perplexing mix; a missing person mystery that alternates with porn styled sex, only to be too modest to show explicit nudity. A masked horror flick more content with reflecting on reflections, rather than let rip slasher style. That this has all the blood, sweat and tears of a work of love, is not in doubt. But even a work of love at times needs a loving cut here and there and narrative revisions where appropriate. And this is no exception. Need more be said?

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 2+ stars. 
available on DVD as part of the Breaking Glass Pictures catalogue 07.12.2010 / US
available on DVD as part of the TLA Releasing UK catalogue 25.04.2011 / UK
starring: Alexander Bracq / Paul, Lee Chapman / Baxter, Denton Lethe / Zhivago, Thomas Thoroe / DeLeon,
Chris Grezo / Griffin, Anton Z Risan / Pan, Maximo Salvo / Carlos, Anthony Styles / Simon,
Gunnar Hojem / Nick, Andrew Shire / Bobby - Client, Nic Gilder / Alan, Scott Van Der
Merwe / Adam - Rough Guy in Club, Jamie Karl Cross / Jamie - Part Guest,
Piotr Blak / Peter - Party Guy, Israel Cassol / Israel - Model
and Michele Martinole / Michele.
Dedication - "For My Brother, who I never knew but who was always in my dreams."
official website: www.seeingheaven.com
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #370
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