Many of you will know the feeling of a date or hook-up getting slightly out of hand. Perhaps you go out for a first dinner and before the first course has come, your date is already deciding what your dogs are going to be called and what your retirement home together will look like. Or you meet somebody in a bar and after about 10 minutes you’re plotting escape routes so that you won’t be found dead in an alley the next morning.
Solo is kind of what would happen if two of those people met up, with some twists and turns along the way so that you’re always guessing what’s really going on.
Manuel meets a guy on the internet and after initially saying he doesn’t want to meet for sex, he agrees to let the very persistent Horacio come to his apartment. Before they get down to sex, the two guys start chatting, with Manuel revealing that he’s gone through a difficult break-up, while Horacio seems tired of the crap that goes along with meeting guys.
What was initially sex quickly becomes something more intense as both guys reveal more about themselves and say they’re starting a relationship. However Horacio becomes furious when Manuel says he wants him to go home, seemingly sure that everything his hook-up has said is a lie. There’s also a guy who keeps phoning him and who Horacio appears to be trying to ignore. Manuel isn’t completely stable either, saying that he wants to leave town the next morning and run-off with Horacio, even though they’ve only just met.
Both guys may be keeping secrets and they start to realise that when you meet a stranger for sex, you don’t know who you’re inviting into your home or whose home you’re going into.
This Argentinian film was made for virtually no money, but it manages to do very well with its micro-budget. There are only five speaking roles, and the vast majority of the time it’s simply two men spending an increasingly tense evening together.
Writer/director Marcelo Briem Stamm does a good job of keeping you guessing as to whether one or both of the men is genuinely dangerous, rather than simply being way too keen to turn a hook-up into something incredibly intense. The movie offers various possibilities as to what’s really going on, and while it doesn’t necessarily comes as a great surprise when the truth is revealed, Solo will have you second guessing yourself right the way through.
It’s a neat gambit to use a set-up that many gay men will be familiar – getting up close and personal with someone they don’t really know all that well. The film trades on the concerns that go along with that, not least, how do you know the other guy won’t turn out to be a complete nutter?
Solo then begins to twist and turn, making you wonder what’s really going on with the men and perhaps also rethinking any plans you might have for some one-night stand nooky. It also helps that it’s pretty sexy, with the guys spending a fair chunk of the time shedding their clothes to make things feel even more vulnerable and dangerous.
Admittedly there is a slight sense that this is a really long short film, but it’s entertaining, sexy and keeps you hooked in as you try to work out both what will happen next and the men’s real motivations.
Overall Verdict: Sex and danger can be a potent mix and that proves true here. Solo has enough twists and turns to keep you hooked in, good central performances and does a great job of creating an entertaining thriller on a very low budget.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac