Matej Zemljic, Timon Sturbej, Gasper Markun, Lovro Zafred, Lea Cok, Rosana Hribar, Dejan Spasic
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Grim and gritty….
Slovenian teenager Andrej (Matej Zemljic) is a mother’s worst nightmare. Refusing to go to school or get a job, he has a list of petty crimes as long as his arm. When he assaults a girl for criticising his failure to find her sexually arousing, Andrej’s mother packs him off to a detention centre in the hopes that this will finally straighten him out.
Directed by Darko Stante, Consequences follows Andrej as he gravitates towards the centre’s alpha male, Zele (Timon Sturbej). It’s clear from the get-go that Andrej is not just doing this as means of self-preservation, but also due to an instant attraction he has for the smirking bully. Implanting himself into Zele’s world, the impressionable teen soon joins him in beating up others for money, stealing cars and generally just make nuisances of themselves. All the while, Andrej downplays his sexuality from Zele and his gang for fear of violent reprisal. And then, one grungy rave later, Zele makes a move that suggests Andrej’s feelings are reciprocated.
Don’t be mistaken about Consequences’ intent. Despite the sexual chemistry between the two men, there are no romantic dalliances behind closed doors or pillow talk about a better life. It’s proven early that both men are volatile and amoral, and their relationship is predominantly centred on sex. When someone nearly dies of an overdose, the two men use the ensuing panic to get it on whilst everyone has vacated the room. It’s that romantic. To be fair, Stante does try to convince us that Andrej sees a brighter future in the arms of Zele, but it’s never enough to make you really care. It’s hard to feel sympathy for someone who will happily mug his mates at the behest of his boyfriend.
The film also toys with the notion of toxic masculinity and how it defines both men but without actually saying anything concrete. Largely this is because Stante keeps changing the goalposts on his audience. Zele hides his bisexuality from his girlfriend, except when he’s starting all male threesomes in front of her. Andrej is a wide-eyed innocent cast adrift from his family, except for when he’s beating women at parties. The lack of consistency may also be in part to how broadly written the film’s two leads are. Even considering Strubej’s strong performance, they’re merely tropes in skinny jeans and football shirts.
Much more interesting is how the film portrays society letting down not just Andrej, but everyone in the detention centre. They are nannied by ineffectual wardens who refuse to make them toe the line, whilst the legal system treats them as neanderthals before they’ve even opened their mouths. None of them really have much of a chance to rehabilitate.
Grim and gritty, without really being all that engaging, Consequences is disappointing in its scattershot approach to its subject matter.