30 November 2015

Movie Review: Thanatos, Drunk (醉‧生夢死)

The characters in the title of this film together represent an idiomatic expression in Madarin that has somehow been translated into Thanatos, Drunk. But the component parts are: drunk, alive, dream, death. I think this accurately and clearly describes the film. The movie has some create cinematography (and skinematography) but for what it gains in these formal aspects of film making, it suffers in a clear, easy to follow narrative. 

The movie revolves primarily around Rat, the younger brother, of two son of a hostess. They live in the slums on the outskirts of Taipei. Rat works at the market and has a crush on a mute female prostitute. His older brother, Shanghe, had temporarily migrated to the United States to be with his boyfriend but that plan failed and he returned and works in gay-related entertainment jobs. He works for a distribution company that distributes foreign gay films and eventually we learn he also makes his money as a strip dancer at a gay club. Not to make anything too easy,  

They also live with their female cousin Da-xiong. She dates "brother Shuo" who works in the male escort for rich old women industry. Rat who exhibits austic behavior idolizes "brother Shuo." The movie actually starts to develop into a somewhat coherent narrative near the end when it starts to become clear that "brother Shuo" who sleeps with women for a living and is dating female Da-xiong is not just gay but might have something for Shanghe.

I guess this can be considered Taiwan's contribution to the third world's poverty porn genre. It mixes both gay life with poverty in a new and unique way. I left the movie depressed. But the main male actors are all very handsome so it wasn't a complete loss. But I'd watch it on DVD as opposed to in a theatre.

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