Testosterone.The title says it all. This one is all about menâ€”their lust, their desireâ€¦and their ability to totally to let their feelings play out through hardcore physical contact.
"I met him on a Sunday and my heart stood still." Ironic that the opening lines of a song by the girl group The Crystals should open this movie that's ALL about men. The opening is also visually awesome, featuring a sexy graphic novel style to set up the relationship between Dean and Pablo. Dean (David Sutcliffe) is a graphic novelist (that explains it) madly in love with his sexy Argentine boyfriend Pablo (Antonio Sabato Jr.). And man, are they a fine coupleâ€¦until Pablo disappears without a trace. But Dean needs closure. So he blows off everything, including a showing at an art gallery, to hunt down Pablo in Buenes Aires. He gets a cold reception from Pablo's well-to-do mother (Sonia Braga), that includes the police, and basically death threats. But that doesn't stop him from coming back for more. Which in turn gets him involved with the elusive waitress Sofia (Celina Font), who works at the restaurant across the street, and her cute brother Marcos (Leonardo Brzezicki). Dean would love to get it on with Marcos, who has a wicked crush on him, but he wants to remain true to Pablo, and fights of (sometimes literally) Marcos's advances. It's quite a hot sexual standoff they have, I must admit. The director makes the threat of sex just as arousing as the actual act. He sure knows his man tension. Wow. Oh. Sorry. Where was I? Oh, okay, so Dean keeps getting more and more obsessed with finding out the truth, which even means pulling out the big gunsâ€”a gun, and a machete. Dean is on a psychotic rampage, but little does he know how many people will stop him from finding Pabloâ€”and for what reason.
It's dark, it's bizarre, and it keeps you wondering what's going to happen next, and when the sex is going to start. No one's motives are clear in the film, including Dean's, which keeps you interested, because you're not really sure if you should even be rooting for this spurned lover. The cast of men is painfully gorgeous. Sutcliffe oozes dangerous, dirty sensuality, and Antonio is, well, Antonio (that's a good thing). There are wonderful whiskered, sweaty close-ups of men making out. Antonio exposes it all in a freeze-frame worthy flash that leaves you wondering, "was that thing REAL???" And the women are diva-esque. Mother (Sonia Braga) has competition in the always loveable Jennifer Coolidge, who has a small role as Dean's editor. And Sofia (Celina Font) is also beautiful and strong. And to top it all off, the film has a plot that avoids any gay clichĂ©s, making the sexuality almost completely incidental. It's refreshing to see gay characters doing all the sick things heterosexuals do in fictional movies, and just like their hetero counterparts, not having those psychotic acts being linked to their sexuality. No gay cheer to be found here. Just some good old dark humor with gay porn sensibilities. And no clichĂ© tragic ending. It's dark and sick, but it's not tragic.
The film is anamorphic 1:85:1. While it's a tad grainy and extremely dark, it actually lends to the tone of the film, and may be intentional. There are specks sprinkled throughout the film, and the image is a bit soft with signs of pixelation. However, the color levels are right on and the skin tones are very natural.
The 2.0 audio track leaves a lot to be desired. For starters, the volume needs to be cranked way up. The bass is miserably distorted, and I chose to turn the subwoofer down completely. And the audio track is clearer in the left/right separation than in the main center channel.
The main menu features sexy clips from the film that really make you want to get right to the "play movie" selection. You also get the original trailer, letterboxed. Special features include:
DELETED SCENESâ€”three scenes, including an alternate ending. This feature promises Antonio's strip tease on the DVD caseâ€”but it's a waste upâ€”I meanâ€”waist up strip tease. This is just part of a pretty hot bathhouse scene that is very Queer as Folk. There's a cut scene of two gay tourists at a cemetery. While it's actually sort of funny at one point, it also comes across as rather "anti-femme," which is why it was probably left out. While the movie goes nowhere near that realm of gay sexuality, it also never pokes any fun at it. And finally, there's a really over-the-top alternate ending that was rather funny but really would have changed the final tone of the film.
RAGING HORMONES: BEHIND THE SCENESâ€”in this 19 minutes featurette, the director, cast and producers discuss various aspects of the film and we also get some behind the scenes glimpses during shooting (some of it is excessive). Topics include adapting from the original novel (which I now want to read), filming in Buenes Aires, and, of course, keeping with the man-loving aesthetics of this film, mention of all the hot men one can come across (so to speak) in Argentina. By the way, some of the crew did not speak English, so their comments are subtitled.
OTHER STRAND TITLESâ€”trailers for Swoon, Proteus, Iron Ladies II, Twist. I've reviewed three of the four of these films. Take a guess which three.
Testosterone steers away from the usual gay camp outing and goes for the goodsâ€”men behaving like men. It's dark, it's moody. It's raw. It's twisted. It's hot.