I had high hopes that MOFFIE, now being heavily marketed, would be one of the great gay movies of the year. Alas, while the material is compelling, it does not rise to the occasion of a GOD’S OWN COUNTRY (2017) or BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005), films that still evoke stroke visceral and emotional reactions when they come up today.
Perhaps the story of a young man who is drafted into the army to protect a border from an evil that seems imaginary is too familiar. We know he will go through horrible routines in boot camp in the efforts to make him a man. And we know that homosexuality is the greatest of all evils. All of that is well treated, although the language is strong, and I would not be surprised to find many are triggered by the violence the conscripts are dealt.
That fact that is it South African in 1981 makes it somewhat interesting, as the film is in many ways done in two languages.
Kai Luke Brummer (who could double for AJ Apa) is handsome and stoic, and buries his secret in long, lonely glances, and one cherished kiss. His complexion and hair are always perfect, and in a long shirtless scene at the film’s conclusion, he looks terrific. I guess carrying your buddies in sheep holds and doing sit-ups with cement blocks will keep you in good shape.
The rest of the cast delivers the various levels of terror and despair that writer/director Oliver Hermanus requires of them.
MOFFIE is featured on the IFC Channel and is also at the Landmark Cinemas.