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  • Colin Fraser


THREE AND A HALF STARS A country boy arrives in Sydney to all the opportunity a big city offers.


Starring Josh Lavery, Daniel Gabriel

One man’s honest portrayal of sex and romance is another man’s porn, a simple fact that Craig Boreham’s tragi-comic, coming-of-age drama doesn’t shy away from. He pulls no off-screen punches in this hyper-eroticised account of a country boy finding his way in sin city. Faint-hearted viewers beware as LONESOME unapologetically shows it like it is with on-screen punches landing hard and fast; be prepared for hi-res, centre-screen servings of cock, arse, sex, cum, choking, fisting and food-play. It’s not porn Boreham argues; for his characters this is an unshuttered, open and honest portrayal of romance and sex in 2023. With lots of sex.

Boreham is know for the more restrained but no less challenging TEENAGE KICKS which brought surfing and gay life head to head. This is a more formula, trope-heavy telling of a wide-eyed teenager who, for various reasons, is compelled to leave home and head for Sydney. The familiarity of the framework is quickly forgiven, a little because gay stories like these still need to be told but mostly because of the way in which its told. This is not a chaste nor cutesy (therefore pretty unrealistic) story per recent arrivals like SPOILER ALERT or BROS. These are everyday, normal people who, given access to easy sex, get to enjoy a lot of sex. OK, perhaps the fisting and food-play is little less common, but not as uncommon as Hollywood would have you think.

Casey (Josh Lavery) meets Tib (Daniel Gabriel) soon after arriving in Darlinghurst. They enjoy an on and off and on again relationship as reflects many young gay men with options. Being easy going and good looking increases their options while also, ironically, reducing them - why work at something when there’s an endless-aisle of opportunity coming around the corner? It’s clear that they, and most of the men they meet, are working an image to help them keep their insecurities in check (the city is a lonely place after all) and their opportunities afloat. Hence Casey’s MIDNIGHT COWBOY hat. It speaks for him when he doesn’t feel like saying much at all.

Amid the cliches there is a lot to like here starting with enigmatic cinematography by Dean Francis. Shot during lockdown, Sydney has a rare, somewhat beautiful emptiness which cuts down the lush setting and adds a visual chill that strengthens Boreham’s themes. Both Lavery and Gabriel are eye-catching, natural and compelling despite their professional youth. The story takes flight in their more playful scenes which lets them find a greater depth and resonance than the script, as a whole, allows. It's more than just the sex, right. While there are more than a few creaky moments in LONESOME, there are just as many exceptional ones. And what it lacks in narrative polish it makes up for with a balls out attitude that wraps one arm around knowing audiences while proffering a cheery up-yours to those who don’t care for its world-view. Both queer and straight cinema (and society as a whole) benefits from films (and filmmakers) like this.



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