North Sea Texas
- Director: Bavo Defurne
- Genre: Drama
- Cert: 16
- Details: Belgium / 120mins
Sometimes mainstream film can be very predictable. There was always going to be another Transformers sequel. Rocky will defy the odds and will still be standing in the last round. It will be tough going for Jason Statham for a bit but he will ultimately save the day.
Arthouse, though, can be just as predictable. Terrence Malick will have a tracking shot through some vegetation. Gasper Noe will have a disturbing sex scene in a seedy underground club where they play thumping techno tunes. In a gay coming of age drama, a teen will fall for best friend/school hunk who kind of fancies our teen and engages in some light petting before being totally cavalier with his feelings and dismisses him out of hand. There will also be a scene where said teen will find himself in a teen girl's room from which he is forced to exit quickly when teen girl tries to kiss him. The latter two show up in North Sea Texas, an adaptation of André Sollie's novel.
Teenager Pim (Florizoone) has had an odd upbringing: dad is nowhere to be seen and overweight mum (van der Gucht) prefers to flirt with the patrons of the local titular bar than put food on the table. Pim doesn't mind too much: he can fix something himself to eat, and because mum is out of the house it allows him the privacy to strip off and don her old beauty contest sash and tiara. When he doesn't get his jollies from that anymore, Pim turns to handsome best friend Gino (Vegels), who somewhat returns his affections, and ignores the advances of Gino's sister Sabrina (Kortekaas), who worships him.
Unrequited teen love is a running theme in his short films that precede this, Bavo Defurne's feature debut. But North Sea Texas is no innocent first love movie – it taps something that's ignored in coming of age dramas that document first loves: the boys here are absolutely gagging for it. Despite Florizoone and Vegels being the focus, it's Nina Marie Kortekaas and Eva van der Gucht that steal the movie; that maybe because their characters are more alive than the deadened Pim and Gino who don't do anything other than look at each 'that way'.
But there's only so many 'that way' looks one can endure before one gets itchy for a real plot. There's just not enough happening. There are far too many scenes of sitting at Gino's table where his mother regales Pim on the adventures of her absent son as Sabrina stomps about the kitchen yearning for even a side-glance from her slow-witted crush. And the shots of the beach, its dunes and the marin grass that split up the chapters of the story kill any momentum.
Tender but dull.
Review by Gavin Burke | 16:46 | Thursday 10th May 2012 | Movie Review
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