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36 Hours of Vaguely Related Gay Scenes in South London
, 22 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Clapham Junction [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I had earlier viewed a 90-minute version of the Clapham Junction as broadcast in 2007 by the BBC. An IMDB review of that presentation of starts, "Over a two day period a series of interconnected events impact a disparate group of [gay] Londoners," and that is quite accurate even if the period is about 36 hours. It is interesting that this DVD remains unreleased in the UK.
Clapham Junction is not far from Lavender Hill, the location for The Lavender Hill Mob, but that was a comedy and this certainly is not.
In 2005, Jody Dobrowski suffered a horrendously brutal murder on Clapham Common, and a similar event is central to this film, which is an ultimately depressing and sometimes shocking exploration of contemporary urban gay sexuality. Some of the characters are deeply unpleasant, dishonest and self absorbed. But you will want to watch them.
One gay youth who play the violin is clearly intimidated and frightened by gangs on his walk to his teacher, whilst another gay inbetweener embraces his homosexuality and relentlessly stalks an older gay neighbor. Some of the gay yuppies are married but unfaithful to their wives in the type of park restrooms frequented by George Michael, and one who marries his partner dallies with a server boy in the kitchen after the ceremony. It is hardly justice when a gay gay-basher gets bashed himself. And you are forced to watch, or not.
The actors sometimes rise above the material. Paul Nichols is clearly full of himself as his character, Terry, and the scene in which he dresses for a night out is great, though one surprising scene reportedly used a stand-in. The film unites James Wilby and Rupert Graves of Maurice, but their relationship could not be more different than what they shared in that film, though both were, again, brave to take their roles. David Leon is powerful in his role as Alfie Cartwright (the Jody Dobrowski character). But Luke Treadway as young Theo pursuing a reluctant Joseph Mawle as Tim is absolutely chilling, and worth the price of the DVD if anything is.
You will never forget Clapham Junction if you watch it. But there is some hard-to-watch "bad" mixed with the "good" (the performances).
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