Sunday, February 24, 2008

Keillers Park

Keillers Park is a 2006 Swedish movie inspired by real events. Peter is a man in his thirties with all the bourgeois marks of success – good family, good job, loving fiancée – whose life falls apart when he finds himself attracted to a man. Not because this love affair can’t possibly go anywhere, but because the world conspires to take it all away from him. His girlfriend, no surprise, dumps him, his father disowns him, his best friend gets his job. And that’s just the good news.

The main characters are more or less believable, the staging is professional, the plot runs along at a good pace. The flashbacks tell the story interestingly enough for a while, there are a couple good erotic scenes, and the relationship is almost convincing. It ought to be a good movie.

But it isn’t. The biggest problem is the story doesn’t come across as worth telling. You don’t see the relationship grow; you learn that it has when the action leaps ahead. The girlfriend and the best friend and the father act out stock roles without depth of character. Peter’s friends are shallow. The bad guys are a cross between Satan and Ronald McDonald. Martin Klingberg as Peter takes a long time to connect with, and it’s uncertain whether it’s the acting that keeps him unsympathetic until the very end or the script. The choppiness of the scene changes means he jumps straight from cluelessness to passionate lover to bitch queen and on to the next mood when the storyline requires. There is no evolution.

Pjotr Gigo as Nassim has the advantage of being a love interest, and thus gets to play the wild and crazy guy, and who doesn’t fall in love with wild crazy guys.

But it’s not a romance; it’s a police mystery with a hurried summary of events thrown together to make an ending. It is as if the filmmakers realized they no longer had the time or the funds to tell the story in real time, and, once they had shown you the world is a bad place, there was nothing left to say anyway.

The story waiting to get out is one in which a gay man loses one life and has to build another, but lacks the wherewithal to do it quickly and well. His doubts isolate him and invite possible allies to come down on him hard. His naïveté leaves him unarmed against the onslaught. But that story remains in your imagination or your life experience; it cannot be derived directly from the telling of this story.

Best way to watch this film is to play the ending first and get it over with. Then go back and enjoy the love scenes. There is no there there in the rest of the film.

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