Saturday, June 29, 2013

Burning Blue

Burning Blue, dir. DMW Greer, 2013, USA, 96 min. 
Saturday, June 29, 4:00 pm @ Victoria (world première)

Lynch helps Stephensen
after their plane goes down
For nearly 18 years, from 1993 until 2011, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was the official policy of the United States military. In theory, a gay man or a lesbian could serve, as long as he or she did not tell anyone, except, of course that if you came out publicly for the specific purpose of getting out of the military, then you would be forced to stay in. Also, in practice, the military completely ignored the “don ’t ask” part of the policy, and actively pursued its witch hunt of more than 13,000 homosexuals in the military, including more than 3,000 from the U.S. Navy. That’s the backdrop for the story of former naval aviator DMW Greer’s Burning Blue, although he wrote the stage play on which it is based back in 1992.

Dan Lynch (Trent Ford, pictured standing) is the leader of a squadron of fighter pilots aboard an aircraft carrier. The squadron has had two fatal accidents, leading to the assignment of an investigator to determine the cause and take action to prevent further accidents. Lynch is trying to protect his people, but it turns out he also needs to watch his own back: he was seen going into a gay dance club, setting in motion an investigation of his own fitness for military service. The investigators are as condescending and contemptible as they are persistent and ruthless in their hunt for a scapegoat, leading Lynch to an unmistakable fork in the road: he can either deny his identity and bury himself in his closet or lose his military career.

The original play Burning Blue was written before DADT was even proposed; the film was made after the policy was finally scrapped. Unfortunately, that means that it missed its optimum window of relevance and timeliness entirely, rather like the 21st-century U.S. military trying to figure out how to win a war against the Soviet Union. Still, the characters are well drawn and well played, and the action is compelling, and I’m much more interested in their personal story than in, for example, Top Gun’s “boy meets airplane, boy loses airplane, oh, by the way, I think there was a girl somewhere, probably near the airplane” plot. William Lee Scott turns in a fine supporting performance as Charlie, one of the aviators, who has a clear sense of his priorities. All in all, a good film, worth seeing, Recommended.

IMDb pageOfficial websiteFacebook page

No comments:

Post a Comment