JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Focus Refocus (Director: Tony DiMarco) - March 7, 2010

Focus Refocus

4.5 4.5
90 min.

The Curious Case of Joe Wilder

Director/cinematographer Tony DiMarcos’ porn noire queer thriller is a steamy, well-paced walk on the wild side of those who either enjoy watching sex-for-hire or love making it themselves.

Closeted voyeurs and exhibitionists will be green with envy and firmly entranced; devoted smut lovers will wish for more (there is another less inhibited version available) and those totally uninitiated into the dark-arts-of-humping-for-fun-fame-and-fortune might just not feel quite so dirty the next time they have a salacious thought.

Using the wonderfully clichéd set-up of a chain-smoking, Joe Friday-like cop (Joe Wicht savouring his Marlboro reds as he tries to get to the, er, bottom of a string of serial killings whose victims were the feature attraction of a homemade, three-way video that left nothing to the imagination) interrogating his prime suspect, Joe (Cole Streets manages the deliberately lame portions of Dan Rhodes’ dialogue with commendable honesty and needs no encouragement to take one for the team in his frequent couplings) in the dank bowels of the San Francisco Police Department.

Using the requisite flashback, “tell me what happened next” storytelling technique, we find Joe meeting Eddie (the densely tattooed David Taylor proves he’s much more than a set of pretty cheeks in his role of boyfriend-with-a-mysterious past) at a festive Christmas party with Tchaikovsky’s saucily metaphorical Nutcracker Suite burbling along in the background.

Lurking moodily on the streets of San Francisco is ex-cop Scott Marlow (Bruno Bond’s visage is at one with the low string tracks and rich assortment of percussion that follow his incessant stalking) who is hot on the trail of an out-of-state killer that cost him more than his career. Not to be left out in the orgy fest that is broken up only to move quickly to the next plot point, Marlow morphs into a pent-up Daddy, bedding Joe’s best friend, Barton (as the extra-attentive manager of the Rock Hard sex shop, visual knockout Ryan Raz makes much more than change for his customers) but is immediately sent packing once his current trick realizes he’s being used as a disposable pawn in Marlow’s quest for justice.

Making a film that demands more bare skin than clothing can be a difficult task if its market is meant to be larger than peep-show devotees who seldom watch these productions from beginning to end. DiMarco and fellow cameraman Ben Leon have managed to keep the visual aspect just hot enough. By using the plot conceit that Joe’s sexual addiction is largely fuelled by video cam episodes in which he is either the star (Eddie initially complains but then seems to savour all manner of shots of his own creation) or the crew (an upscale “fivesome” affords our horny hero the chance to get up close and personal with his American Idol, Dario Stefano—Steve Cruz in fine, furry form). That “raw” footage intercut with the “regular” camera, providing unique points of view on the same action as the video and film renderings, is teasingly edited into a body-part peek-a-boo that isn’t without a few payoff flashes.

Come for the skin, but stay for the camp and a carefully crafted production that manages to grab everyone’s attention until the final cinematic dénouement produces a truly killer finish. JWR

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