Friday, 21 March 2014

REVIEW - FREE FALL


In producing maximum effect with minimum responsibility, Stephan Lacant's Free Fall is glaringly transparent in its motives. Lacant's sincere and reverent tone doesn't so much promote and honour the 'gay issue' as make an issue out of it in the first place, and use it to create such a ham-fisted melodrama. What has been devised here is a stale mix of elements of quasi-comical gay fantasy and soap opera. The supporting characters are vivid, in that they each vividly hammer their one note out incessantly, while the lead character is conflicted, troubled by dilemmas which anyone who has seen any similar gay relationship movies (and there are plenty!) will not only recognise, but will recognise as having been done with more insight before. Lacant has seen profundity in banality, without acknowledging that it is banality in the first place, and embarks upon squeezing every last sensationalist drop out of his pulpy material, all in a teal sheen that is utterly dripping in middle-European middle-brow earnestness, and encouraging his actors to approach their roles in a most classical, empathetic, stirringly dramatic manner. It's often easy (and tempting) to overlook the familiarities and inadequacies in Lacant's filmmaking, since heady emotional narratives like this can be so engaging even when done poorly, but the blatant opportunities to inject some originality or spirit into his film that he passes by make such a feat rather more difficult to accomplish: Lacant's choreography of sex scenes renders them sweet and shallow, not erotic and tangible, and the strain of homophobia he intends to denounce in his characters he unwittingly supports. For once again our protagonist is the supposedly straight family man, torn between what his heart truly wants and what society wants for him. In every contemporary story about coming out, the societal aspects of the narrative bear the greatest weight on its actual content; Lacant presents his story as specific to these people at this time, and thereby acquits this poisonous society of the moral crimes it is so very guilty of committing.