Twisted Romance

| September 27, 2012

When Roberto (Zehuen Zapata) and Raúl (Oscar Génova) meet, the electricity between them is palpable and the love affair that ensues could rival Romeo and Juliet.  Or maybe I’m just thinking of the urge to kill myself by the end?  The truth is that the film is about the relationship between the young Roberto and the old Raul, and despite Raúl’s brutal and selfish using of Roberto, he falls in love with the old man.  I could summarize more for you, but that basically is it.  That’s the pathetic excuse for a narrative at work here, but it’s being dragged down by the film’s major flaws.

For starters, the characters are remarkably inconsistent.  Roberto goes back and forth in his affections for Raúl; screaming at him in one scene for being too dominant, yet refusing to leave him for a new love interest, César (Javier De La Vega), in the next scene.  Raúl is a selfish monster one minute, and refusing to cheat on Roberto with his sister (Marisa Pájaro) the next.  I suspected at one point that the actor playing Raúl must have also written and directed the film, because for such an unattractive man, he is awfully irresistible to various different people.

Not only are the characters badly written, but the film overall has an extremely weak script.  This is partly the fault of the subtitles.  The story doesn’t drag on per say, and it doesn’t digress in unnecessary tangents, but the subtitles are completely unacceptable.  I’ve studied Spanish a lot, and while I’m not fluent I do understand how the language works, and I know that there can be a somewhat fluid translation between Spanish and English.  Sure, words here and there may have to get changed but the central concept can easily be expressed in both languages.  In this film however, the subtitles often make no sense; like their the dialogue of a space alien in a bad sci-fi movie.  Remember at the end of Love, Acutally, when Colin Firth is professing his love in broken Portuguese, and while you can follow everything he’s trying to say, the general syntax and sentence structure is a bit off?  That’s what we’re talking about here.  Except that in Love, Actually, that scene achieves a nice comedic effect while here it’s simply embarrassing.  Bizarre word choices, incorrect verb conjugation, and straight-up typographical errors in the subtitles are very distracting, and make the film that much harder to watch.

I counted four different sex scenes in the film.  3 somewhat graphic homosexual scenes, and one orgy tacked onto the very beginning for some reason.  Perhaps to show a pair of breasts to draw in a larger audience?  No idea.  I don’t find the homosexual content offensive, but I bring it up because it begs the question, at what point does a film transition from mainstream to pornography?  The four scenes are all in the first half  of the film and if that frequency had kept up throughout, it would be difficult to see that is anything substantial; anything beyond a piece of gay porn.  So, I guess that’s the highest praise I can offer Twisted Romance.  It’s not porn.

On top of everything, Twisted Romance is an ugly film.  None of the actors are particular attractive, which is only a problem if you’re making a movie about sex and passion and you expect your audience to understand the attraction between your characters.  In addition, the setting is ugly, and the way its shot is hideous.  With every movement, the video develops little black lines.  It’s like watching the movie on a VHS tape through a security monitor, and it’s completely unexcusable.

No idea if the actual DVD will include any special features because Breaking Glass doesn’t send out actual DVDs as screeners; just the movie burned onto a DVD-R.  This could account for the lousy picture quality, but it’s the first one I’ve seen that’s this bad.

Available on DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures on September 25.

About the Author:

Joe Ketchum Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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