Steel (2015)

This film is certainly not your run of the mill and overplayed gay movie story line.  It deals with some serious issues.  It can be difficult enough for someone to come to terms with their own sexuality, but also dealing with an anxiety disorder makes things much harder.

Synopsis from IMDB: “Strong emotions – fear and panic, self-search and isolation, love and sex, self-denial and self-discovery – a ride on an emotional roller coaster while trying to find one’s way into life.”

I’m pretty sure this is the first and only film I’ve seen about a main character who suffers from both internalized homophobia and agoraphobia.  Daniel has a serious case of both which play out in destructive ways to his career and personal life.

Although I found the first 30 minutes of the film very odd, in hindsight I think it might be meant to be perceived that way.  At first, you don’t know what the hell is going on.  The overzealous music doesn’t help – it makes you think someone if about to be murdered.  However, we see Daniel seemingly fine – hiding his anxiety under certain conditions.  But when those conditions change we see someone else entirely.

One of the scenes that I found striking was when Daniel realizes that he doesn’t have any groceries.  He seems to feel utter dread that he will have to go out and to the grocery store.  When he’s there he’s constantly just a moment away from a panic attack, and it takes everything for him not to go running until he does.  When he gets home he says, “I can’t fucking live like this.”

When Alexander comes into his life, it’s an odd and tumultuous affair.  There’s some serious melodrama and a few scenes when the acting/writing didn’t quite play out as well as it might have.  But this situation is what drives the story line forward as well as it can.  The development of the relationship (and of Daniel) is probably one of the highlights when it’s not over dramatic.

While I can see that the film does try to explore some serious issues, I don’t feel like it quite hits the mark in some cases.  Some scenes were drawn out while others seem under explored.  And while I understand the point that the soundtrack was trying to make it was often distracting.  I found myself pressing the “skip 10 seconds” button…  Even some of the intimate scenes came across as superfluous.

An aside: when doing some research for this review I noted that the first “plot keyword” listed on IMDB was “male pubic hair.”  I wouldn’t say that’s a keyword that I’ve ever searched for while looking for a good movie. (and I don’t think there was much anyway)

Overall, I applaud the effort of the film and think it had some good aspects.  However, there are a lot of pieces that could have been better executed to make a more impactful film.

Available: Amazon Prime

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