Boulevard

"Excellent"

Boulevard Review


This dark, introspective drama hinges on one of Robin Williams' final film performances before his death in 2014. And it's one of his most unusual roles too, a sensitive depiction of a man grappling with a long-repressed truth about himself. Most importantly, the film is never sentimental, and it continually refuses to take a political or moral approach to a potentially touchy topic, exploring the issue of sexuality with unusual honesty.

Williams plays Nolan, who at 60 has no reason to feel unhappy. He has a great job and a loving wife, Joy (Kathy Baker). But a change in the health of his father (Gary Gardner) makes him feel the need to address a very deep desire that he has been hiding all his life, even though he can't even admit to himself that he's gay. One evening, he takes a drive to the spot in town where the young male escorts hang out, and in a moment of panic he picks up Leo (Roberto Aguire). Nothing physical happens between them, but they become friends. And just opening himself to the possibility awakens feelings Nolan has been burying since childhood. Nolan's best pal Winston (Bob Oedenkirk) knows something is up but doesn't need to ask. And as Nolan struggles with what to do next, he has a nasty altercation with Leo's cruel pimp (Giles Matthey).

Although this plot point feels just a bit overwrought, it's thankfully not the focus of the story. Instead, it escalates the urgency Nolan feels about dredging up these long-suppressed feelings and admitting the truth to himself and others. Best of all is the way writer Douglas Soesbe and director Dito Montiel quietly explore the textures of Nolan's long relationship with Joy in scenes that are beautifully underplayed by both Williams and Baker. These are people struggling to say out loud the things they have always known but considered taboo. And now they are realising that perhaps doing what was considered to be the right thing all their lives only delayed the inevitable.

Where this goes is provocative and haunting, simply because the film refuses to take the easy route. The writing, directing and acting avoid cliches at every turn. So even if the film feels a bit slow and emotive, it never wallows in its seriousness. Instead, it takes a fresh, open approach that is packed with wider resonance beyond the central issue. This is a movie that will ring true to anyone who has made a life-changing decision based on what others expect them to do. In other words, everyone in the audience.

Rich Cline



Boulevard

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th July 2015

Box Office USA: $55.7k

Distributed by: Starz

Production compaines: Camellia Entertainment, Evil Media Empire

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Fresh: 28 Rotten: 25

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Dito Montiel

Producer: Monica Aguirre Diez Barroso, Mia Chang, Ryan Belenzon, Jeffrey Gelber

Starring: as Nolan Mack, Roberto Aguire as Leo, as Winston, as Joy, Eléonore Hendricks as Patty, Giles Matthey as Eddie, Clay Jeffries as Student, J. Karen Thomas as Cat, Brandon Hirsch as Brad, Curtis Gordon as Jon, Landon Marshall as Mark, Henry Haggard as Beaumont, Vernon Mitchell as Driver, Sondra Morton Chaffin as Gloria Beaumont, Charlie Accavallo as Laundry Mat Patron

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