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Consequences

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Aug 2, 2019
'Consequences'
'Consequences'  

Much like Ukrainian Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy's memorable 2014 drama "The Tribe," the Slovenian film "Consequences," from writer-director Darko Stante, deals with troubled young men being institutionally warehoused in ways that do little to reform or even restrain them. As a result, internal and external conflicts slowly lead the main character to shocking violence.

In this case, though - unlike "The Tribe," which was set at a school for the deaf and involved a heterosexual protagonist - the main character, Andrej (Matej Zemljic), is gay and trying to keep a lid on it. He's slowly drifting into trouble at school and at home, such that his exasperated parents finally seek to have him remanded to a "center" where boys with behavioral problems - or criminal tendencies - are sent to straighten up.

Not that there's much incentive to do so. The staff warn the troublesome boys about "consequences" for bullying, insolence, and other disruptive behavior, but seem to lack any real authority to follow through. Even when they call the cops, the police simply stand by as the staff utter empty threats and the bolder boys ignore them.

The leader of the center's hardened clientele is Zele (Timon Sturbej), a youth already schooled in mob mentality and tactics. He pushes the weak around and blackmails them; the strong he blackmails and, when he can, seduces into unquestioning loyalty.

"Seduces" in the literal sense of the word, that is - at least in the case of Andrej, who is grateful just to find someone who accepts him. Zele has no sense of limits, and his gleeful willingness to do anything for a thrill - steal cars, beat people up in bars for their money, sexually humiliate them with the promise of video ready to be shared on social media unless his victims toe the line - opens up a world of seeming liberation for the repressed, anxious Andrej.

But when Zele's strongman tactics begin to dominate the relationship, outweighing the sex and friendship he provides, Andrej starts to see him as the manipulator that he is. Not being as stupid or weak as most of Zele's followers, Andrej balances on a fine line between the possibility of redemption and crossing a boundary from which he can never return.

In its depiction of male hierarchies in their raw state, "Consequences" easily equals "The Tribe." Its depictions of sexuality are not as frank, though they even more charged, carrying an aura of abandon and danger. (What's fun in the rush of a cocaine high is meant to be kept under wraps the rest of the time.) As an object lesson in the perils of forcing gay youth into the closet, "Consequences" is both skillful and unstinting: Society creates its own monsters, and monstrosity is not a matter of labels so much as of values corrupted and corrosive lessons learned.

A strong cast compliments Stante's stark, fearless writing and direction.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


Comments

  • , 2019-04-24 02:58:00

    The writing skills of your illiterate staff suck: LEARN HOW TO USE A FUCKING PARAGRAPH!


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