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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 5 November 2012
Having just seen this film at the cinema, and been keen to see what Ira Sachs would do with what, apparently, is quite autobiographical material, I must say I found the story of Erik and Paul an involving one. It seems to me that it is quite original in looking at a gay relationship over a 9 year period and showing its various phases; watching these two excellent actors makes you feel how complex the interaction between two people often is at any given moment, the psyche seems to be such a finely-tuned thing. It's true that Erik is shown rather more than Paul, a bit as if we were watching a tennis match but always from the same side of the net. However this is entirely in keeping with the first person perspective, which has the ring of authenticity. Too much explaining of Paul's drug problem would have made it too much of a case study, and much more verbally heavy, whereas Sachs engages largely through images. Stills from the film would look a bit like Nan Goldin's photos - there are lots of interiors with the light coming from a lamp we can see, and the camera framing the characters with great immediacy, yet it is not without a sense of composition, and the expressiveness of Thure Lindhardt's face is one of the most memorable things about the film. At times his smile reminded me of Jeanne Moreau(!), although the keynote of his character is an immense gentleness. He also seems to be very sexually driven, a counterpart to Paul's drug use, if a more manageable one. In that sense it could be compared to Steve McQueen's Shame, but this film is infinitely warmer. It feels afterwards like a tender if ultimately sad embrace; you certainly feel the sadness, yet the images give a lot of pleasure that's quite hard to pin down.
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on 20 November 2012
I came across Keep The Lights On when I heard that the music from Arthur Russell was going to be used throughout the film, I went to see it at a cinema in London and loved what I watched. The film is a beautifully told story about a relationship between a documentary maker, Erik and lawyer called Paul. They are living in New York City, which becomes a character all to itself, and are trying to find a correct balance in their relationship between their working lives, the love they feel for each other and their own individual issues and addictions. Paul is dealing with his drug abuse, which starts to destroy their relationship. It's a very emotional ride, but by the end is so worth it. Apparently, the film is based upon a true story, which makes it even more interesting to watch. I certainly recommend this film because it is so well made, and so well acted.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 February 2013
Keep The Lights On is a powerful film lasting just over an hour and a half and features one of Denmark's finest actors, Thure Lindhardt. Lindhardt excels in his role and having seen him in several Danish films including Brotherhood [DVD] in which he plays another gay character, this film corroborates my previous opinion of him as a world class performer.
Mostly in English with a tiny bit of Danish, we follow the relationship of Lindhardt's character over several years, mainly in New York. It is a very interesting film and the viewer certainly gets to care about the main character. Very well made and worthy of a rewatch!
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on 1 March 2014
Admitedly I bought this for the semi gay porno sex scenes (reason why I buy most of the gay films I buy). But this one is a little different. The guys are hot. The sex is also hot. Addiction is not. A watchable film.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 8 February 2013
This tells the tumultuous story of Erik and Paul who met on a sex phone line and hooked up. Erik played by Thure Lindhardt (`Flame and Citron' and `Brotherhood') is a film maker which means he has a lot of down time, so gets `up' to stuff on the phone, if you get my drift. He is a Danish immigrant to the Big Apple and falls for the dashing but closeted, lawyer Paul - Zachary Booth (`Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist'). After a tentative but passionate start they start to get to know each other and that is when Pauls' habit for cocaine rears its ugly head.

This spans a nine year period from 1998 and deals with the ups and downs, no pun intended there, with their relationship, trips to rehab, infidelity and the seeking of solace in hollow and empty sex, just like everyone's life at some point probably - if you are lucky enough that is. After all there is nothing worse than a dull life, but the problem with that is the pain that love can and often will put you through.

This is filmed in an unobtrusive way and the acting is all brilliant Thure Lindhardt really holds the whole thing together and comes across as both genuine and caring. There is a fair bit of horizontal gymnastics but all done in the best possible taste, so nothing too strong to worry about or indeed look forward to. This though is a very honest exploration of a relationship with all its' attendant problems and the inevitable ultimatums that only real love can force you to make.

This is mostly in English with a touch of Danish with a run time of 101 minutes but is so engaging that it feels shorter, whilst there are some painful to watch scenes, that is only because the actors have gained empathy which draws you into their story. This is for fans of gay cinema and actually anyone who cares about relationships or a love story that hurts- recommended.
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on 13 April 2013
Was very much looking forward to this film, but the Blu-ray transfer is ordinary to say the least, I believe no better than DVD quality, and where are the subtitles? Really poor that these are not included on a release of this calibre. Sound levels were all over the place too. If the master material doesn't lend itself to Blu-ray release, then don't release it in this format.......i
The film itself was clever, perceptive and engaging, spanning a number of years and the varying forms and transitions that relationships take, but overall was let down by the lack of subtitles and indifferent picture quality. My advise, if you would like to buy this film, just buy the DVD, the BD is not worthy of the extra outlay.
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on 23 January 2013
Keep the Lights On is okay, but it's disappointing in an odd way. Although made by an openly gay man, it has the feel of a movie made by a straight man with no deep understanding of what being gay is really like - showing men doing what a straight man might think gay men do, but completely lacking any profoundly gay sensibility. It's very odd in a movie that ought to be thoroughly and convincingly gay if any is. I admit this is a totally subjective reaction that no other viewers may share, so don't let my review keep you from watching it.

ALL three stars are for Thure Lindhardt, a beautiful man in every way, who plays gay characters better than any gay actor I can think of. I first saw him in the Danish movie Broderskab (Brotherhood), in which his excellent, subtle performance was overshadowed by Swedish actor David Dencik in the most powerful portrayal of a gay man I've ever seen. He doesn't have such intense competition in this movie, so he shines more brightly. Lindhardt is always worth watching, and - for me - he's the only reason this movie is.
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on 3 November 2012
'Keep the Lights On' charts the highs and lows (mostly lows it has to be said) of the relationship between filmmaker Erik and troubled publishing lawyer Paul, following them over an eight year period. Although there are occasional interesting moments, particularly early on, the film suffers from a series of problems that render it stilted, unconvincing and, perhaps worst of all, dull, thanks to paper-thin characterisation.

As a regular filmgoer I'm utterly sick of seeing these knackered old stereotypes about gay people writ large on the big screen. The portrayal of gay life here is miserable in the extreme and the normalisation of drug misuse - not casual pot smoking but in actual fact smoking crack - is completely bizarre. We know from an early stage that Paul has a drug problem but the film presents a semi-glamourised, sexualised image of crack use that undermines the dramatic tension and urgency of Erik's later 'intervention'. Meanwhile, Paul as a character has virtually no backstory whatsoever - we learn nothing about him, moments of potential characterisation are glossed over, and his descent into drug-addled hotel room sessions feels almost entirely unbelievable. It is as true of Paul as it is all of the characters in this movie - their emotional world feels completely remote.

I came away from the film feeling a little grubby - there's an uncomfortable ambivalence and emptiness at the heart of it all and I felt myself wondering if what I was really detecting, underneath the well-shot surface and decent production values, was the unsettling vision of a self-hating gay.
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on 5 August 2013
Topical, awesome, true to life. Resonates with issues in any gay man's life and while people from other walks of life will empathise. Beautifully and heart brakingly well played by the actors.
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on 6 February 2013
Was totally capitaved from the begining ; the story of 2 men who meet by accident and fall in love . I loved the pace of their story , the little details , the great arguments and the development over time . One mans obsession and growing need for drugs and the other for sex and love , the way life over time gets out of control. Considering how most films about sex are over hyped [ ie Shame ] and a let down this is a great poetic movie with brilliant music . Plus I have never seen Thure Lindhardt in an english speaking role before ; marvellous . Watch out for his sister played by Paprika Steen , she is another danish favourite . yes this is definately one of my favourite dvds . Another peccapic classic in the making .
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