Sun Kissed

2006, Movie, NR, 91 mins

Review

SUN KISSED
starstarstarstar
Sex and psychosis mix in this nice looking, Super-8 psychodrama from Patrick McGuinn, the son of former-Byrd Roger McGuinn. The film opens with a shot of a dead woman and closes with two men smooching on a beach. What exactly happens in between is anyone's guess. Teddy (John Ort) is a young, blocked gay writer who moves out to the desert vacation home of Crispin (George Stoll), his literary agent, hoping that the quiet and the change of scenery will be enough to get his creative juice flowing once again. The house is looked after by Leo (Gregory Marcel), a handsome aspiring actor who lives and works in the city, and who agrees to meet Teddy at the bus stop and drive him out to the desert. Teddy is immediately attracted to Leo, whom Crispin suggests might be bisexual, and after spending a night or two alone in the empty house he calls Leo and invites him over. They get drunk and wind up sleeping together, but the following morning Leo regrets what he's allowed to happen, assures Teddy that he's really straight and leaves him distraught and all alone. When Leo returns to the house some time later, he finds the finished manuscript of a novel entitled "Goodbye," and the house completely deserted. Teddy is nowhere to be found. Time passes. Leo is now married to a woman named Cheryl (Laura Leigh) but is sleeping with men on the sly. "Goodbye" has been published and it winds up on the bestseller list. At this point the narrative breaks off and regroups, and we (possibly) see what might have happened if Leo had returned to Teddy after leaving him that fateful morning. They become lovers, and as Teddy begins probing Leo for details about his past, Leo admits that he was once married, but that his wife was found murdered outside their home. The killer was never caught. Teddy is shocked, then later suggests that Leo leave for a few days so he can get some writing done. The narrative fragments even further and we begin to realize that what appear to be flashbacks, flashfowards and narrative shifts may in fact be a character's psychotic breaks. Despite all the confusion and ambiguity, the film does resolve itself into something resembling an ending but there are an awful lot of loose ends left dangling. One would almost like to watch it all the way through a second time, but that would mean spending another 90 minutes in the company of Teddy, who's an insufferably whiny, manipulative and self-absorbed creature who bites when riled. When Leo tells him about his wife's tragic murder, the only reaction he can muster is, "Are you trying to terrify me?" before consoling Leo with a pat, "Well, maybe it was just her time." The sun-kissed, post-rock soundtrack is by The Sea and Cake. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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