- Director:Sean Mathias
- Cast:Lothaire Bluteau, Mick Jagger, Sir Ian McKellen, Clive Owen
- Release Date:December 01, 2009
- Distributor:Love Films
- Running time:100 minutes
- The Film:2.5
- The Disc:Zero
"...the story’s impact is unfortunately subdued on screen."
A spotlighted silhouette of Mick Jagger performing on a high-rise swing welcomes us to Bent, a 1997 film adaptation by Martin Sherman of his award-winning stage play. In early scenes, a younger Clive Owen could easily be overlooked as he struts around a colourful burlesque club as a promiscuous gay man named Max.
This is pre-war Berlin - all it takes is a slit from a Gestapo blade for Max and his naïve boyfriend Rudi (Brian Webber) to become victims of Hitler's persecution against homosexuality.
Already at odds with his wealthy family (because of his sexuality), Max is forced to run while he continues ‘working on another deal'. Unfortunately, the deal never comes to fruition and Max finds himself in a concentration camp where he learns to equate love with death, denouncing his homosexuality in order to stay alive.
Bent had a strong impact on a 1979 stage audience at a time when less was known about Hitler's torment of Europe. Almost 20 years later, and post the boom in queer cinema in the '90, and the story's impact is unfortunately subdued on screen.
Bent's theatrical origin is definitely felt at the start of the movie, and when it fails to capitalise on offering a historical insight into the treatment of homosexuals under the Nazis (other than simply as a narrative mechanism), the film loses momentum.
With a moving musical score by Philip Glass, director Sean Mathias still manages to capture great visual scenes while reflecting the complexities of identity, acceptance and love.
Watch out for the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Lothaire Bluteau, Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Rachel Weisz and Paul Bettany in the supporting cast.