a film by Ron Daniels
2009 | 93 mins | US
›› The War Boys
a beautifully rendered closing act.
The War Boys by Ron Daniels Some films take you by surprise, only to fail when it comes to realizing their full potential and this sadly, is one such case.

Not that you would know that from the start, when home from "extended freshman leave," David is reunited with his best friends George and Greg; aka the war boys of the title. Up to their old tricks in seemingly no time at all, they are soon to be found stealing, that is when not out alerting the authorities to illegal immigrants crossing the US / Mexican border, all for the fun of it. Only it is affairs of the heart that are destined to transverse boundaries, when David and George become more than just close friends in the middle of the night. Yet with all three out to make a quick buck courtesy of stealing one of David's father's contraband laden trucks, could it be that they have crossed the line for one last time?

The War Boys by Ron Daniels Adapted by Naomi Wallace with the co-writing hand of Bruce McLeod from her original stage play, here we find first time director Ron Daniels embark on an ambitious cinematic journey, given the degree of themes raised within its celluloid time frame. Yet with issues as wide ranging as adoption, immigration and sexuality, let alone the alarming, if telegraphed from the onset side of the story that is, well that would reveal all, something had to give and that is the emotional impact of the feature itself. Had it been played differently, with signs of gay affection breaking into acts of outright love earlier on, then the melodramatic finale would have undoubtedly resonated with more intensity. Only by compressing "everything openly gay" into the thirty-four minute closing act, it fails to make the heartbreaking grade, even if the narrative is refreshingly different to the standard gay genre.

Still and to Daniels' credit, both Greg's hetero and the boy's homo relationships are handled with the same degree of sexual openness, whilst David's father's reaction to his son's burgeoning sexuality is probably unique in gay cinema. As too it's well performed, with the camaraderie of its youthful players vividly realistic, leaving Peter Gallagher as the Jekyll and Hyde character of the piece; loving his son one moment, threatening him the next. Yet and in spite of all of its positives, it falls at the last hurdle, all of which adds up to a crying shame, as there was some serious potential here for a gay classic in the making, given the relatively few scenes that take place between the boys and indeed of George coming out to his adopted sister are frankly - beautifully rendered.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.
available on DVD as part of the Maya Entertainment catalogue 09.March.2010 / US.
starring: Victor Rasuk / Greg, Benjamin Walker / David, Brian J Smith / George, Greg Serano / Silvio,
Teresa Yenque / Maria; with Micaela Nevárez as Marta and Peter Gallagher as Slater
and introducing Cheyenne Serano as Cat.
official website:
Copyright 2012 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #473
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