After Were The World Mine, many hoped we’d see more of the talented Tanner Cohen. However, except for brief appearances in the likes of Looking, he’s mainly been busy off-screen (as he let us know, he’s been writing novels). Now he’s back in Getting Go.
The film follows Doc (Cohen), who decides to combine his fascination with a New York go-go boy and his filmmaking aspirations by making a documentary about the sexy dancer. Having watched him for weeks and secretly photoshopped pictures of him, Doc approaches Go (Matthew Camp) with his filmmaking idea. To his surprise, Go agrees to be the subject of the documentary and they start making the film.
Go soon reveals himself to be more than just a body gyrating in a gay club, with a strong artistic streak and highly considered ideas about sexuality. Doc meanwhile may have aspirations towards art, but was his whole documentary project essentially just a pick-up line even if he doesn’t want to admit to himself that’s what it was? As the men get closer they both start to challenge the other’s perceptions.
It’s the sort of film that could have been a complete mess, seeming rather precious and pleased with itself. However Cohen, Camp and director Cory Krueckeberg never lose sight of the characters and there are many times when it’s actually rather sweet. Even moments when Doc and Go discuss rather heavy philosophical ideas about sex and sexuality come across as a natural part of getting to know one another, when in many circumstances it could easily have felt pretentious and clumsy.
It’s a really good film, which works well purely as a romantic drama, but also goes deeper to become a dissection of modern gay life. It seems particularly interested in the artificial split between sexuality as social/cultural construction, and the purely carnal. Doc is almost in denial that his project was predicated upon sex, while Go’s job means many are incapable of seeing him in anything but an erotic way.
The film mixes these things together in a way that gets far deeper into modern gay life than most films can dream of. It feels completely cohesive as it ranges from philosophy to the difficulties of dating, through sex, friendship and the complexity of making ‘art’ about sexuality. The fact much of the movie is shown to us through Doc’s documentary lens asks us to consider what we’re seeing, particularly the fact that what we may want to think of life on an intellectual level isn’t always matched by how we experience it on a more fickle, organic level.
Many will be pleased to hear that it also has some extremely charged sex scenes, which are both explicit and sensual. Indeed it’s one of the more interesting things that at the point the camera caresses Go’s body as he lies in bed with Doc, it becomes a discussion about him as a pure sexual object and as a person. It’s also very sexy – but that’s not surprising considering Camp is a real-life go-go dancer whose sexy photos have become internet faves. In fact the director has suggested the movie is almost a documentary about Camp, as like his character he may be known to many for his shirtless and NSFW pictures, put he’s also an artist, fashion designer and even a perfume creator. It doesn’t hurt either that Tanner Cohen is extremely cute too.
Overall Verdict: This is one of those films that seems fairly small and simple on the surface but reveals surprising depths as it unfolds, with interesting characters, some intriguing ideas and plenty of sexiness.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac