Director: Jonah Markowitz
Stars: Trevor Wright, Brad Rowe, Tina Holmes
Shelter has one foot caught in the indie gay film trap, but anyone who endured a viewing of the pitiful Tan Lines, the Australian gay-themed movie from 2006, will appreciate this relatively enjoyable gay-themed surfer flick from 2007.
Trevor Wright plays Zach, a talented and ambitious painter from the wrong side of the tracks shackled with his widowed and crippled father and lazy, slutty sister Jeanne (Tina Holmes). They all live together in a dump, and Jeanne dumps her son Cody onto to Zach whenever she wants another night/weekend/week away with her dopey cunt of a boyfriend.
Enter Shaun (Brad Rowe), a wealthy and mysterious maybe-gay who hooks up with Zach one afternoon down by the beach. Curiosity turns to a night on the Heinekens at Shaun’s opulent family home. The couple embark on a tentative love affair.
In his few scenes Rowe makes a real impact and there’s nothing at all wrong with Wright, either, except his Zach is give perhaps a bit too much ambient time. The five or so wordless, lingering shots of him gazing blankly out into the ocean are at least three too many.
Other characters are a bit indulged too, with Jeanne lurching from aimless whorebag to concerned sister and back again, with no in-between. A scene between Zach and his girlfriend deep in the third-act seems disconnected to the rest of the film.
But for a gay indie, Shelter is next-to-excellent. Kudos for a lack of any creepy voyeurism from the camera too, with just one fleeting glance from Zach at a studly surfer stripping out of his wetsuit, and just the very odd shot of the naked lovers, who are usually shot in close up and with the focus on their faces, not their pecs (which makes the poster art for Shelter slightly false advertising, but that’s another story).