A young woman and an intersex teenager develop a fast friendship that takes them from Los Angeles deep into the Nevada desert. Living high whilst keeping low, the pair are in it for themselves, but not quite each other, as their respective pasts begin to reveal dark truths. (Imdb)
NOTE DI REGIA:
As a child I used to watch a lot of films and TV shows while sitting on my father’s lap – Bruce Wayne Westerns, Carry On films and the Formula One Grand Prix – bored out of my mind. Second in command of the remote control was my brother – the films of Chuck Norris and Steven Segal being played on constant loop when my father was out. My mother had a soft spot for anything starring Julia Roberts. Then there was the soon to be gay kid who had crushes on Jamie Lee Curtis and Virginia Madsen, whose favourite movies were Thelma & Louise, Candyman and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
BRUNO & EARLENE GO TO VEGAS is my love letter to the outsiders, the weird and wonderful people who exist on the fringe, on the outside looking in. It is part of a mission to take such characters and place them in narratives where they would usually not be given a voice, let alone visibility. The road movie, the Western and the buddy movie are three typically male-dominated, hetero-normative genres that I would like BRUNO & EARLENE GO TO VEGAS and its characters to have a stake in. They share similar themes of love between friends, finding fulfilment from the journey and not the goal, and fighting back when society puts you in a corner.
“…Savory doesn’t build the film like a shell, though, encasing one mood in another; as the film unfolds, Savory blurs it all together, swirls and shards of caricature provoking shifts in the central relationship. It’s an approach that pays huge dividends, especially when one trajectorial leap in the plot leaves you momentarily befuddled. But it’s obvious that Savory isn’t interested, and quite frankly doesn’t need to explain why these characters are as they are; the actors do the work for him, immediately creating the familial atmosphere of this misfit utopia in the desert, so that the ensuing conflict between Bruno and Earlene makes sense.
Sumner and Szanto are the earthy, melancholy, quiet centre, while the other actors, granted less screentime, paint with bright but not broad colours to make their mark. Crake, first seen coolly posing shirtless by a motel doorframe, is your main eye candy, and Savory knows it – when Bruno sees Billy washing his car, queue the hose-down and soapy-sponge-on-chest slow-motion interlude that’s basically horniness made flesh. But Crake makes Billy’s confidence shift ever so subtly from obnoxious to empowering; he moves from his caricatured spoilt girlfriend to a frisson with Antony Cherrie’s Kyle without the blink of either eyelid. For an ensemble who are mostly confined to the film’s second half, the supporting cast make indelible marks, distinctive and quietly original.
Eschewing the typical golden, sunlit hues of the sandy American coast, and the sizzling heat rays of the Nevada desert, Savory and cinematographer Eben Bolter instead use a quieter palette, drawn most vividly to the neon blues of night in this little hidden town. That said, despite the title and its ostensible status as a ‘road movie’, this is not a film concerned with space in the literal sense. Bruno breaks into the homes of people on vacation, occupying space and eating food but never existing in these places to anyone other than himself. Place is important as a communal idea; the mysterious status of the town they arrive at is exactly the point, because it doesn’t matter where it is, only who they find there.
That arc of discovery might be the greatest triumph of Savory’s subtle approach to what could so easily have been a brash, candy-coloured adventure; that Bruno and Earlene become characters genuinely deserving of their own story. It’s essentially the age-old story of discovering what family is, but the lime has been twisted differently in this drink, and it tastes a little sweeter. Bruno & Earlene Go to Vegas is both the promising beginning to a film career and the rare film that tells a new story about characters who prove themselves worthy of a tale.” (David William Upton, sosogay.co.uk – voto 4/5)
“… A micro-budget road movie, Bruno and Earlene never feels cheap – there’s an attention to detail in every scene that would easily compare to bigger-budget productions. This is as much a story about the relationships the characters have with themselves as it is about the relationships they have with each other. All of the characters are so three-dimensional that by the end of the movie the viewer is tempted to go and look for each of them, and spend time in their worlds.
Bruno and Earlene addresses issues of gender, identity and companionship in ways that feel real and tender, almost raw at times, through a cast that, though beautiful, at no point feel shallow or superficial; they each have their demons, and each battles in their own way as the story unfolds.
Slickly paced, the characters unfold with the story, always moving but never hurrying through their development. Ashleigh Sumner is utterly convincing as Earlene, and Miles Szanto’s troubled Bruno is so spot on there are moments throughout when you’ll want to reach out and give him a hug. While the script is at times slightly clunky, this incredibly strong cast bring such life to their characters that it really doesn’t matter.
Overall Verdict: Beautifully shot and with a narrative crescendo containing shades of Thelma and Louise, Reservoir Dogs and even The Italian Job, this is a clever, thoughtful film that brings issues around gender, sexuality and identity to the fore in gentle and sometimes quite subtle ways, leaving the viewer thinking and asking questions.” (Scott Elliott, biggaypictureshow.com)