Monday, June 26, 2017

After Louie

After Louie, dir. Vincent Gagliostro, 2017 USA, 100 min. 👏
Sunday, June 25, 7:00 p.m., Castro Theatre: West Coast première
Closing night film
After Louie: Alan Cumming as Sam
Sam (Alan Cumming) is a middle-aged artist, trapped in his memories and guilt from the peak of the AIDS crisis. He has slowly devolved into picking up rent boys to break the tedium of working on a never-quite-finished cinematic paean to a lover who died more than 20 years ago, building a hard shell of emotional armor, and, of course, chain smoking cigarettes. One night at a bar, he meets Braeden (Zachary Booth, the closeted lawyer in Keep the Lights On), a man half his age. They go home for a one-night stand, but slowly Braeden works his way into Sam’s world, jarring loose emotions and creative impulses that have fossilized beneath the weight of Sam’s survivor’s guilt.

Alan Cumming is enough to get me to see almost anything, even Spy Kids 2 — although I draw the line at the Smurfs — so I’m pretty much sold before the opening credits roll. Several other faces are familiar from a wide variety of prior works: the aforementioned Zachary Booth, Wilson Cruz (Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life), Patrick Breen (Quellek in Galaxy Quest), Everett Quinton (whose earliest IMDb credit is in the role of “Homosexual Pusher” on Miami Vice), Sarita Choudhury (Homeland), and Joey Arias (everything from Big Top Pee-wee to Wong Foo to Arias with a Twist). The story line has a definite resonance: in particular, I’m very close to Sam’s age, although I was spared the agony of multiple funerals of friends every week. And yet After Louie was missing that je-ne-sais-quoi to put it over the top into the “must see” column: I wasn’t wowed. I didn’t feel like I really got inside either Sam or Braeden’s head. Still, it clearly earned Highly Recommended.

IMDb pageOfficial websiteteaser trailer (vimeo) • Facebook: AfterLouie

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