Daniel (Chad Connell) is a successful man – he has a popular TV talk show and his growing ratings have ensured that his star is on the rise. However, he’s also plagued with anxiety and panic attacks, which causes him to have an on-air meltdown and afterwards to hide himself away from the world, not talking to his producer or anyone else.
Then he meets Alexander (David Cameron – who you won’t be surprised to hear is an actor, not the British Prime Minister), a young fan who very quickly declares his love for the TV personality. Despite Daniel barely functioning, Alexander is persistent and the two soon become lovers. As their relationship develops, Daniel begins to open up, revealing some of the past trauma that has led him to the depression and anxiety he now feels.
Steel is a difficult movie to write about, as you really want to talk about what happens at the end, but that rather gives the game away. That said, I’m not 100% sure if the ending is actually supposed to be a surprise, or whether you’re supposed to figure out what’s going on, with the denouement merely being confirmation.
I suspect it must be the latter, as otherwise it’s unlikely the film will work for you. Much of the movie is about metaphor and what is going on behind what you see and hear, with the characters often talking in an obviously loaded way, so that the surface often doesn’t fully make sense without an appreciation for the fact there’s more going on than you’re initially explicitly told. Indeed, there are chunks of the film that would be positively annoying and confounding unless you have at least an inkling of what you’re seeing.
All that said, it is a pretty watchable film. Although not as profound as it sometimes seems to want to be and with a tendency toward slightly soapy melodrama at times, it’s based around some genuinely interesting ideas and concepts, and it certainly takes its subjects seriously, which helps to give it a sense of heart and conviction that many movies lack. It also has great empathy for those suffering from mental illness and the after-effects of past trauma, even if sometimes it doesn’t always portray it completely convincingly.
On the romance side it’s pretty successful. There’s a real sweetness and tenderness to the relationship between Daniel and Alex, which start off quite spiky but slowly becomes more tender and passionate. It also gets pretty sexy at times, with some sensual scenes between the duo, and a real sense of chemistry when they’re in the sack. You may smile at the way the camera swings away or cuts every time it almost shows the guys’ goodies, but it’s still pretty hot, and helps add an extra layer of appeal to an okay film.
Click here to watch the trailer for Steel
Overall Verdict: Although Steel isn’t 100% successful and there are moments when some excellent ideas don’t work quite as well as you’d hope they would, it’s still pretty entertaining and interesting, with some decent performances at its heart. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty sexy.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac