I feel like I should have watched a few telenovelas before viewing Wild Awakening. Although I’m far from an aficionado of the genre (and I’m more than ready for someone to tell me I’m completely wrong about it), but Wild Awakening shares the heightened reality, love for over the top drama and intrigue, and the slight sense where you can’t decide whether it’s a knowing spoof or not.
Young Emma and her gay brother Toni are the owners of a riding school, having inherited the business when their parents died. On the farm a group of (often shirtless) men work, led by the homophobic Ramon.
That sets up the recipe for a bit of drama when both Emma and Toni develop feelings for Ramon’s hunky son, Aaron. Emma isn’t going to be pleased if it turns out Aaron likes boys more than girls, and Ramon certainly doesn’t want to have a gay boy for a son. Toni meanwhile has a history of running away whenever things get too serious with a boyfriend, but with Aaron he may have found something serious.
The whole thing is also set up as a bit of a mystery, as in the opening minutes we know someone is missing presumed dead, but we don’t know who. The film then jumps back in time, with the movie leading up to the point where the police get involved.
In those opening minutes, I assumed the movie was going to be self-consciously tongue-in-cheek, especially with a scene involving a drag queen that very deliberately plays on the famous leg-crossing in Basic Instinct. However, most of the rest of the film takes the plot rather seriously, even if the drama is a little too dramatic, the villains too villainous (and the mitigating reason for their villainy a little too convenient), the people a tad too buff and gorgeous, and the acting a little too pantomime.
With much of the film, I couldn’t help but think it was quite of like the bits in a porn movie where people aren’t having sex. That’s not to say there’s a lot of innuendo about a plumber having a big spanner, but there’s undoubtedly the air of a lot of it being foreplay as Toni and Aaron stumble towards one another with longing looks, a fair bit of voyeurism and plenty of shirtlessness. It certainly doesn’t hurt that both of them are extremely handsome, with Fabián Castro in particular being so handsome he looks like he must be computer generated because nobody could be that well-structured.
Although the slightly softcore porn vibe never erupts into hardcore or indeed proper softcore porn (which I’m sure some of you will be sad to hear), there’s undoubtedly a homoerotic air, a few quite steamy sex scenes, plenty of bulges and lots of skin on show. A lot of the movie is rather inconsequential, but the fact it’s sexy and features good-looking people certainly helps. It’s also rather sweet and for most of its running time keeps you watching to find out what will happen between Aaron and Toni, and also making you want to know why the police will eventually get involved.
That said, the last few minutes are a bit odd, and I’m still not 100% sure what actually happened (and I watched it twice because I assumed I’d missed something). I think it’s meant to be profound and change what you think you know, but largely it’s just confusing.
Wild Awakening is rather cheesy, some of its quite silly and it is undoubtedly over the top at times. Indeed, it couldn’t be described as a good film, but it is a relatively sexy and watchable one.
Overall Verdict: A bit daft and over the top, but some hot guys, a bit of intrigue and a slightly camp air help make it a better watch than it perhaps deserves to be.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac