Saturday, November 08, 2008

"2 Minutes Later" -- Is this gay film noir?


It sounds like the idea of mistaken identity among identical twins would be a good plot idea for a Hitchcock-like mystery of 40s film noir. Another theme could explore the likelihood that they, while living apart, have the same personality and particularly sexual orientation. One can even imagine the idea that one gives the other an organ transplant, with strings attached, an idea I have explored.

Robert Gaston has this terse little thriller “2 Minutes Later” (78 min, from TLA Releasing) that has a bit of that 40s noir flavor put into modern day Philadelphia. (Move aside, M. Night Shyamalan). Despite the fact that most of the major characters are gay, you hardly even notice while watching it, as it is a film that pays homage to the heavily plotted thrillers of the 40s. The action moves more quickly, however, than in older movies; scenes progress in a compressed fashion, leading the viewer to fill in the details.

Gay erotic photographer Kyle has disappeared (in the opening sequence he takes a picture at a convenience store, and is told “You see too much” and is chased into the woods.) Pretty soon lesbian detective Abigail Marks (Jessica Graham) is teaming up with his gay twin brother Michael to impersonate him and track down the disappearance, which will lead into your 40s style plot of double-crosses.

But what’s interesting is that Michael, while working in a non-creative field like insurance claims adjusting, is so much like his twin, whom he has avoided for ten years, to avoid living in his more famous brother’s shadow. Born “two minutes later” he thinks he got the raw end of the lucky deal from the womb. An insurance adjuster plays detective just like a real detective, and just like a photo journalist. He meets the shady characters whom Kyle journaled, and has to accept the same level of intimacy.

Michael, having lived a more laid-back and "conservative" life, doesn't smoke and has to learn to smoke to impersonate Kyle. If you think about it, even at age 30 or so that could have led to differences in appearance. Identical twins, as they age, don't have to be completely identical.

There’s an interesting line in the script “It if has a purpose, it can’t be art.” When that comment applies to films, books, or particularly web postings and profiles, it has profound importance, perhaps legally in the murky area of “implicit content” which I’ve discussed elsewhere in the blog. Just turn that statement around into its contrapositive.

You can watch the entire film online in eight segments on Logo, here.

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