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Beach Rats
Year:
2017
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama
IMDB rating:
6.5
Director:
Eliza Hittman
Neal Huff as Joe
Erik Potempa as Michael
Gabriel Gans as Eddie
Harris Dickinson as Frankie
Nicole Flyus as Carla
Frank Hakaj as Nick
David Ivanov as Alexei
Christian Whelan as Rough Guy
Kate Hodge as Donna
Kris Eivers as Edgar
Storyline: An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn struggles to escape his bleak home life and navigate questions of self-identity, as he balances his time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
1080p 1920x1080 px 7823 Mb h264 11131 Kbps mkv Download
720p 1280x720 px 4471 Mb h264 6361 Kbps mkv Download
HQ DVD-rip 720x406 px 640 Mb h264 910 Kbps mkv Download
Reviews
Pity...c(sh)ould have been better
"Beach Rats" Much hyped but very disappointing. The theme of a young man trying to figure out his sexuality is fertile ground for any story, literary or cinematic, because it's an on-going real life struggle for many. This shallow, one-dimensional attempt though, while full of the vacillating that must accompany such a personal conundrum, doesn't shed any light on its main character's dilemma or suggest any way for him to find a solution - if there is one.

Let's get one thing out of the way: Harris Dickinson as Frankie, the lead character and the only one that's fleshed out to any degree whatsoever, at 20 is perfectly cast, easy on the eye to both gay and straight people and therefore his scenes, and he is in every one (the movie should've been more properly titled "Beach Rat"), ring true and create much of the reality with which this film attempts to cloak itself. It's certainly not his fault that that attempt falls flat partly because the rest of the cast are cardboard cutouts - I don't remember if we ever know the names of the other three of the group with which he hangs, let alone know anything about them (where they live, what if anything they do for a living, what their interests are other than drugs and women). They're just there! Consider that Frankie a neophyte to the gay world and is shown via a sequence of scenes to go from a) peering through his fingers at men in the chat room to b) refusing their offers to meet ("I don't do that") to c) accepting an offer and bottoming for a guy in the bushes without any seeming discomfort. As another example of how fatuous this movie really is, let's take the penultimate scene (what in a Shakespearean play would be the climax - not the end but the point at which a decision or action creates an inevitability for the rest of the plot). The guys want to buy some weed and are desperate it seems. How any group of 20-somethings in New York City with their lifestyle can't find weed is beyond me but we need that pivotal plot point. Out of the blue, as they are all sitting on a bench somewhere, Frankie suggests that they roll a gay guy and grab his weed. Take any group of very straight young men and make that suggestion and there would be, I suggest, an explosion of emotion. Here we get mild amusement, minor surprise, practical questions ("What do you have to do in return?" to which Frankie mimes oral sex) and then acceptance with further questions of how to go about it. Frankie of course has the answer and next we see the group in Frankie's room where he is on his computer trolling a gay chat room (which we've seen him do before) and engaging potential victims there. The other three are a little (I stress "little") shocked but quite blasé about the whole thing only once asking him how he knows about this site to which he replies, "Oh I just found it" or words to that respect. There was never any revulsion on the part of the group, no accusation that Frankie was gay. Nothing. I found that just plain silly and dumb as a portrayal of what would have really happened: the anger, disgust, accusations, shunning. That whole sequence is part of what's terribly wrong with this film.

There are any number of loose ends scattered throughout: characters and situations that are just left hanging. Example: In the group, the smallest fellow (don't know his name - see above) has an enigmatic role as there are several times when the camera focuses on his face looking at Frankie in a more than casual way. I found that suggesting that just maybe he had fond thoughts about his friend. This was never developed one way or the other. During the beach scene where they mug the other guy for his dope, this fellow (I'll call him #4) does not join in but disappears back into the bush. The other three emerge to the parking lot with the weed but #4 is nowhere around. Nobody misses him or asks where he is; we never have any inkling of his motivation for leaving or where he went. Nothing! Previously when the group goes swimming (the one and only time they have anything to do at the beach - (why the title?)), #4 does not go into the water but after the other three strip down to their underwear and dive in, in a shot from the back it looks like he's pumping himself up (or jerking off). What's that all about? We never know.

The only person in the film who shows any kind of depth and growth over its length is Simone, Frankie's erstwhile girlfriend who, having picked him up at a club to get laid, tries to make a boyfriend out of him even though she describes him as a "fixer-upper" (a term I'm glad she explains to him). However, this relationship never seems a strong part of the plot, balanced against his lifestyle and his dabbling in gayness.

The editing was jumpy; scenes didn't dissolve one into the other so much as one just abruptly ended and another began. Not to suggest that they weren't sequential but rather that they felt disjointed. After the mugging, the last shot in the parking lot focuses on the small bag of pot that they'd scored. Cut to Frankie in bed the next morning with his mother standing over him. There are more satisfying ways to get from one scene to the other rather than jumping like that.

Overall, the film was a great disappointment, partly I think because I could have been so much better.
2017-11-15
Real, but missing an "and...".
Don't worry, no spoiler here:

I didn't understand the ending. I understood the confusion and struggles; been there. Whatever it was, it must be hidden under some artsy symbolism.

Should I have picked up on fleeting Sherlock-like clues? There were many things they could have used, I waited for them to tie things together, but it just stopped; just hung there like a gay man's rubber parts during str8 sex

The plot was too drawn out and could have easily been wrapped in a bow. It was all set for the shy, non-conforming, 3rd friend to fill the gap, meeting at the carnival. Watching fireworks together would have been too cheesy, but hearing them in the background as they played with the 2 (basket)balls and scoring would have been subtle symbolism. Such an ending would have given me happy tears (rare in gay centric movies these days). Was I suppose to notice if the guy's car is still in the lot to see if he made it out?

Not a spoiler because none of this happened, thus the low rating; nothing happened. It got 3 stars because we need more gay movies, but this is just 1 step above "all gays die in the end" by proving "all gays have unhappy, confusing, drug and alcohol abusing lives". That's just the plot, no spoiler ending...because there is none I could see.

I'm gay (since the days it was labeled a TV freak show disease, all gays in movies were either killed or were a cheap comic relief character as "sissies"), I didn't get the ending in Beach Rats. Then again, I didn't like the ending of "Brokeback Mountain": Gay assault, brief gay sex that looks more like rape, homophobia and closets are OK if a gay man is allowed to eventually cry for a minute.

Brokeback Mountain: Crappy middle, OK ending. Beach Rats: OK middle, bad ending.
2017-11-30
Fractured and Aimless
There might be a good story in this film if only a few of the "plot lines" had been followed and expanded. There are so many threads which begin to weave into the story only to stop abruptly and not re-appear, leaving the film even more tattered and frayed.

There is simply no way to portray a person's inner life on screen; using close-ups of wistful expressions or having characters stare off into black water or fireworks does not a movie make. Despite seeing the lead in every frame, I came away not really feeling much for him or that I had learned that much about him. He doesn't seem stupid or completely clueless yet engages in meaningless activities with no self-awareness or that there might be a potential for self-growth.

I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen in this film - a hookup gone wrong, a gay- bashing, the reaction of his friends learning he's sleeping with men, his mother figuring out what was happening, something - anything. Instead, another round of fireworks, crashing waves and more staring out of subway windows. A complete disappointment.
2017-09-15
A film that exploits the sadness of the closet
It is a little shocking to see this movie in 2017. The desperate situation that the writer/director creates for her character as entertainment is so dark and frankly, cruel, that it offends me as someone who lived/lives with that desperation. Frankie is a typical street kid from Brooklyn in many ways. He and his crew don't have much to do, so they go to Coney Island and take prescription drugs to create mild entertainment. He's atypical in that he's capable of being pleasant and respectful, when necessary. He's also gay in a world designed for straight bros, and he lives out that part of his life on a hook-up chat website. This set-up is straight from a gay 1990's movie, when the AIDS epidemic was winding down and being gay was scary - queer films reflected that back then. Like those tragic movies of yesteryear, Frankie becomes more and more isolated by his choices and actions. He finds himself alienated from his friends, his family, his straight girlfriend, his potential boyfriends and himself. And then the movie ends. The writer/director is a straight woman whose artistic decisions amount to having a character put in a glass box that is slowly filling with water just to see what happens. It's cruel. I think the problem is that as gayness is more socially acceptable as a topic for film, straight people feel empowered to tell those stories but their conception of gayness is from the 1990's. "Brokeback Mountain", "Moonlight" and "Beach Rats" are all straight people's assessments of gay life, and man are they bleak.
2017-11-24
Boring and Predictable
As usual with the Sundance darlings, I can't understand what possessed the people who saw this to award it with a prize of any sort. It's very tedious to sit through the scenes of the lead character ("Frankie?") emoting the same dogged look on his face in every shot. He seems to have one reaction to everything -- kind of a vapid, listless stare. I don't see how it evokes any kind of emotion to the scenes going on around him. To say that this is an original story would be very generous to the writer/director. I feel like I've seen this plot and set of characters before, but done better. Every scene was played out by the book, so we know exactly what will happen before it does, and there are many unfocused scenes (both in the writing and the shaky-cam cinematography). I got very ansy trying to accept that the 3 other male characters would easily go along with the idea of searching a gay male dating app for a bag of weed (huh? Are these guys all in some kind of mental black hole?) And the idea that the lead character would ask them to search for weed on a gay dating site is completely absurd. In general, the plot is very limited -- they do nothing, they smoke vapes, they do nothing again, they try to score weed, they do nothing again, and there are a couple of yawns over some forced communication, and the movie drags on. I finally had to stand up and leave before it ended because I was in danger of falling asleep.
2017-09-04
It was like nothing
The film does not embody a troubled sexual or homosexual situation. Because at the age of this young man may have discovered his sexual orientation. It is a psychological conflict based on nothing. Because there is no religious or moral conflict in the story of the film, even the end does not carry any content or solution. I did not see any explicit dramatic content in the film or useful information. Some of the pornographic scenes of amateurism are homosexuality and heterosexual. An inappropriate and unproductive character is the focus of the story. I am sorry for my judgment the film is a failed experience
2017-11-13
Painful and tragic
Woah. I knew almost nothing going into this but it really affected me like few films this year. It was tough seeing such a repressed, confused character in such a dark state of mind, especially one that was going through such a similar experience to many others and I in the LGBTQ+ community. The lead, Harris Dickinsion, was so authentic and genuine, it made it that much more difficult to watch him go through what he does here. The film doesn't deliver anything in terms of a satisfying conclusion or tidy little arc. Instead, it becomes harder to watch the more it goes. I don't know, I just found this to be quite powerful.
2017-11-13
Washed up
A film about homosexuality made for heterosexuals, 'Beach Rats' neatly fits the tired and restrictive 'LGBT' label by conforming to many of its trademarks, such as self-loathing and confused gay men that simply wish to belong, gays being betrayed by other gays, gays getting beat up, macho blokes, predictable plots and clichéd characters, nudity, homoerotic soft-porn visuals and drug taking.

The underlining psycho-sexual Freudian craving for a father figure (the six pack underwear model guy's dad dies of cancer) is clunky and too obvious, and the cruising and outdoor sex will only shock heterosexual people who are still living in 1995, everyone else will be bored.

The story's conclusion is both preposterous (a closeted gay male tells his aggressive, homophobic friends about a gay cruising site he uses that they can score weed on) and predictable (the effeminate, helpless gay male they trick into meeting them is beaten by the group).

Gay/queer people are some of the bravest you will ever meet, but from viewing a film like 'Beach Rats', you'd never be aware of this. The idea with these intellectually lazy films is to present the world as a predatory, scary place for gay people; sometimes that is very true, and sometimes it is not. I've never been attacked for being gay, for example, yet every 'LGBT' film features a gay bashing. Is this the only way to tackle homophobia -- to show fictional gay bashings? To show repressed, miserable young people hurting other repressed, miserable young people? Does it change the world? Aren't we tired of seeing gay men get beaten up yet?

In the 1970s you had a wide range of incredibly varied queer film makers all over the world making thrilling films, from Fassbinder's nihilistic, confrontational 'f--k you's, to John Waters' palpable joy in seeking to offend everyone on the planet, to Pasolini's fierce socialist attacks on the hypocrites of the world, to Kenneth Anger's esoteric and homoerotic Thelema-inspired creations -- these are films that are still vibrant and powerful to this very day, forty years later, and that is because they were works of complete originality and power, there is no self-loathing to be found in any of it.

No one will be talking about this dated, gay-bashing soft porn in even five years' time.
2017-12-04
Strong, beautiful medicine
"Beach Rats" is an extremely potent movie. The plot turns around the anguished, conflicted sexuality of the central character, a teenager named Frankie. Frankie enjoys having sketchy sex with older men. Unhappy with his own tastes, he tries to refocus his libido on more conventional outlets. Unfortunately, though, Frankie's efforts to take an interest in women are an utter failure, only serving to confirm, again and again, his lust for men and his appetite for anonymous gay encounters along roadsides, on beaches and in motels.

Unable to cope with the dissonance between what he craves and what he wishes he craved instead, Frankie relies heavily on drugs to numb the pain and kill time. He spends his days and nights with a small pack of pathetic, frustrated thugs who resort to petty crime to buy drugs and booze.

Frankie's downward spiral is portrayed with great finesse by Harris Dickinson. Eliza Hittman's writing and direction are highly effective, and the photography and editing are also first rate. All of the subsidiary roles are well cast and played with uncanny naturalness and precision. I did not detect a single false note in any of the acting in this film.

Fundamentally, this is a movie about the inability of people to accept the mountain of ambiguity and filth they have to climb in order to become themselves. Beyond conformity and rebellion, what is a human being? "Beach Rats" proposes no answers to the profound questions raised by the shabby ruins it excavates.
2017-08-29
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