35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
"Why are there girls' things and boys' things?",
This review is from: Glue  [DVD] (DVD)
The latest pedigree offering from the impeccable Picture This! stable, 'Glue' (Spanish, with English subtitles) is a film not easily forgotten. The cast is minimal, focusing largely on Lucas, our 16 year old protagonist, his best friend Nacho, and their age-mate Andrea. We are treated to a glimpse into a few short weeks in the lives of these three characters, as they hang-out, flirt, sniff glue, and enjoy polymorphous physical intimacy in a dusty South American desert town.
But to categorize 'Glue' as a coming-of-age film would be trite in the extreme. While there are many examples of what would be considered the usual 'adolescent angst' (secretly comparing body development against that of friends, awkward silences, parental conflict, watching porn on TV, the importance of music as a form of expression), the portrayal of youth in 'Glue' is more iconoclastic; they are not simply going through a 'phase'. The nihilism portrayed is of a degree commonly seen in films by Gus Van Sant, or in Araki's 'Doomsday' trilogy. There is no sense that the characters will ultimately follow in the subservient footsteps of their parents: they are the last in the line; the contemporary, disenfranchised generation. Araki aficionados will note the subtle, background TV news reports about 'another 15 year old suicide'.
The reference to Van Sant is appropriate also from a stylistic viewpoint. Time-lapsed clouds; blurred and shaky camera shots; sunspots on the camera lens; an emphasis on reddish, earthy tones in the hue and color employed: all add to the impression of a youth eschewing the modern world and trying unsuccessfully to find their way back to nature. This is further emphasized by the role of gender identity in the film - or rather, its absence. The three main characters - Lucas, Nacho and Andrea - are seen in various combinations of sexual interaction; but again, there is none of the typical 'sexual confusion' that we usually see in a pro forma coming-of-age film: they simply follow instinctual enjoyment of physical intimacy, unburdened by their forefathers' limiting preoccupation with gender role:
"What's the difference between kissing a boy or a girl? Boys have beards. That's the only difference, otherwise it'd be the same thing...Why is it that boys don't cry?...Why are there 'girl's things' and 'boy's things'?"
While there is a great deal of humor in 'Glue', the occasions when the viewer can laugh serve as a temporary palliative, rather than as a remedy for the starkness of the nihilistic existentialism. It is only really the characters' attitude towards rejecting received gender identity that provides the film with any genuine optimism. Clearly 'Glue' will not be for everyone: those who find comfort in the simplicity of hard plot lines and linear story-telling, or the superficiality of 'good guys/bad guys' scenarios, will struggle to see the cold, desolate - yet captivating - beauty that provide 'Glue' with it's enthralling, brilliant portrait of contemporary youth. Glue appears to be the first feature-length film from Writer/Director Alexis Dos Santos, a name that is certainly one to watch.