Poster Boy, which won the 2004 Grand Jury Award for outstanding screenwriting at L.A. Outfest, is about Henry Kray, who is thrust into the spotlight as a poster boy in his father's campaign for re-election.
With a handful of bit parts to his name, Matt Newton, who portrays Poster Boy's main character, Henry Kray, is better than most of today's young Hollywood actors. His turn as a closeted homosexual yearning for anonymity while engaging in promiscuity and all while playing good son for his ultra-conservative Republican Senator of a father is both realistic and touching. Newton captures the struggles of his character in both expression and words, delivering one of the two scene-stealing roles in this film. The other role belongs to Newton's on-screen mother, played by film veteran Karen Allen. Her turn as the Senator's bitter, alcohol swilling, chain-smoking wife could have easily been overlooked, but Allen manages to bring both tenderness and strength to the part, and seems even to evolve into an independent woman with a second chance at life in the span of the film.
The cast is rounded out by Michael Lerner as Senator Kray; Jack Noseworthy as political activist Anthony; Valerie Geffner as HIV-inflicted Izzie; Ian Reed Kesler as Skip; and Austin Lysy as Parker.
Although I did not go to film school, I've watched enough movies to know that something was terribly wrong with the camera used in several scenes in this film, which was presented in widescreen format.
In almost every interior scene where more than one actor was involved, there were so many different camera angles used that the picture seemed choppy and jumpy. Either that, or the camera was so close up that while someone was speaking, I could only distinguish an actor's cheek or part of their mouth, which I found very distracting.
I would have enjoyed the film more had the camera panned out a bit to include whole bodies, or better yet, more than one person at a time, so the camera didn't have to keep jumping back and forth from actor to actor.
There was at least one really choppy edit at the end of the movie, and there were also some blurry scenes, which I'm not sure were creative choices or errors in camera work. On the flip side, the exterior scenes, particularly of New York streets, were quite beautiful and creatively shot. Unfortunately, there were only a few of those scenes.
Poster Boy incorporates pleasant background music that helps propel the storyline without distracting from the dialogue. The sound quality was spotty at times, as if the actor's mics were hidden under clothing, but in all, I didn't miss any lines.
No extras, unfortunately, as I would have liked to hear from the actors, writers and director.
Poster Boy makes a lot of political statements, but in the end, those messages are overshadowed by shoddy editing and camera work.
Juliet Farmer, aka writnkitten