The following is my review and represents my opinion. No matter if you agree or disagree, I would like to have a discussion about the film and promote this wonderful art form. All I ask: be nice about it. Art is subjective and no one’s opinion is right.
Sieger(Gijs Blom) is a sporty, very athletic young man who falls for his relay partner, Marc(Ko Zandvliet).
Mischa Kamp’s Dutch LGBT Drama Jongens(now translated to ‘Boys’) is a film that fails to be appealing for all of LGBT folk, heterosexual folk and folk as an overall species. Although the intentions are noble and defiance against stereotypes(Gay men that like sports?) even nobler, the film’s shortcoming is a trifecta of poor writing, performance and technical achievement.
Our two leads, the rather static Gijs Blom and minutely more emotive Ko Zandvliet, fail because their performances and interactions are as bland, and as emotionally unresponsive, as the act of buying socks. Though not entirely their fault(casting often plays a substantial role), the chemistry between them is less human than that which is now capable of robots, with Siri and Alexa’s infinitely steamier love affair prompting a deeper emotional connection than that of GAY_SPORTS_ONE and GAY_SPORTS_TWO – with the difference in number at the end not reflecting a difference in character, simply a means for me to tell them apart.
Surrounding them is a cast of disinterested people, some of whom are actors and some of whom presumably just got offered a paycheck: all of whom give minimal effort. This apathy is a shame as it almost retroactively ruins the praise I gave to the aspirations and goals, as none of the cast seems even remotely interested in fulfilling them.
The initially endearing story proceeds to collapse on account of its messiness, specifically the senseless number of meaningless subplots bloating its 25 minute (if focused on the actual plot) run-time. Loose threads, such as Sieger(Blom)’s brother’s bike and an allusion to a homophobic friend, are so sporadically arranged that they form no cohesive arc or logical story progression, but are in a great enough number to be the foundation for a blanket.
Sieger and Marc’s relationship is also conventional, based on both their nonexistent chemistry and the cliche format at which their journey progresses: wherein nothing unique or inspired occurs, just plenty of meandering with the occasional cute smile or a pretty piece of cinematography.
Though while the cinematography can be, dare-I-say, great at points(the water scene does look amazing), Katarina Türler‘s editorial style is haphazard at best; nonsense at worst. Scenes are clunkily crammed together like two jigsaw pieces that don’t fit – and the entire film is just a poorly constructed mess. As much as I wanted to love this film so, so much; even being ambivalent towards it is a struggle. What it attempted to do deserves some credit and some pretty shots litter the blissfully brief run-time, but the end result is a tedious, unengaging and all-in-all frustrating experience; where high potential can be found squandered, with little care accompanying it. If this review leaves you with anything, I recommend Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho(The Way He Looks): a Brazillian tale of ‘Boys’ falling in love that is an absolute delight, and a much better – and more successful – film than this.