By Jeff Walsh
"I Dreamt Under The Water" isn't an easy movie to love, because you never really get a sense of the motivation of the main character, Antonin, yet the whole movie follows him. So, a whole movie without empathy isn't my favorite thing.
The movie starts with a charismatic singer, Alex, Antonin's straight crush and friend. Alex is heavily into drugs, and his descent pushes Antonin to seek comfort in the underbelly of Paris, with gay sex with groups of men in parks, drinking, drugs, and the requisite prostitution.
We see Antonin on several of his tricks with the sadness and empty expression that accompanies all gay movie prostitution, whether sleeping with seniors or aggressively spanking a naked john as he scrubs a kitchen table.
Things change and Antonin's path seem like it might get better with Juliette, or can things change for Antonin at all?
My problem was, having never felt a part of his journey, I didn't really care what happened. The whole movie sort of seemed aimless to me, like there was no narrative unfolding, things just happened. One might say that's exactly the point, that if you were on drugs and directionless, that is your narrative.
Of course, that could be true. I went on the same driftless journey Antonin went on, and I felt as disconnected and passionless about it as he seemed to be. I guess I prefer to be on a journey that's moving in some direction.
The movie is also strangely hardcore at times, and would be NC-17 here, but none of it is really erotic. Public gay sex in a park with a handful of guys, and it was all just blah. So, yeah, I guess I was in his shoes. I didn't want to be there, either.