2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
makes good use of limited budget,
This review is from: Stonewall [DVD]  [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
What a wonderful film this is, giving an insight into a historic event, while the central romance has wonderful chemistry between Guillermo Diaz and Frederick Weller. Both get their characters very well, La Miranda conveying the sense of hurt she has gone through before the film starts without going into it, and Matty Dean making an excellent country-lad foil, with intellectual aspirations that lead him somewhat astray, perhaps. The lip-synching is also very well done, with adroit cutting between musical sequences and the action, and the crowd scenes are well handled. The director Nigel Finch has got round the budget limitations so well that you feel constraints have worked in the film's favour. A secondary romance, between a tough-but-kind drag queen and straight-acting bar owner, is a little underdeveloped given the way it goes, and the film doesn't quite pull off the sense of history in the making with the weight of Milk. On the other hand, it has possibly more magic, a more delightful sense of camp, and Matty Dean looks fantastic in his jeans - he really is incredibly attractive (what a bottom!), and the setting somehow accentuates it. Not that the drag queens are at all lacking in glamour ... there is a wonderful moment when a Marilyn lookalike sashays just ahead of the police with their riot shields, her manner and gestures priceless. They are also well contrasted with the more sober political types who were making tentative forays into activism prior to the riots, but were really at pains to appear as ordinary as possible. The overall picture is very colourful and vibrant, but with a sense of real pain and injustice too - a sort of double effect which is very well brought off. And for me, the constant concern not to miss a sighting of that ardent bottom, or to enjoy his beautiful face and body, enhanced the viewing experience and made it multi-layered, veering from the light to the tragic to the titillating, and certainly showing more than the two layers one might identify at a literal level ...
On a more trivial note, I don't feel the film has ever had a very good box! On VHS it had a black cover with a pair of handcuffs, and here the drag queens are not flatteringly caught and the lettering is clunky. The German edition has the two main characters in a lovely montage, and is Zone 2, with optional German subtitles, so it might be better for many buyers than the Zone 1 edition, quite apart from the much better cover design!