Warning. This is a gay film that is being presented by Battelle Film Club in Richland. It has been labeled as such and the story’s themes are definitely pro-gay Undertow is also from Peru and subtitled.
Miguel is married. He and his wife Mariela are expecting their first child. Miguel is a leader in his village and active in the church. The main economy is fishing and Miguel owns a boat.
Miguel also owns a secret. He’s in love with Santiago, a wealthy man who has visited the village every summer since he was a boy. Their relationship is passionate and loving. Santiago and Miguel get into a tiff over being in love and Miguel being unable to admit that he’s gay.
Then Santiago drowns. His ghost can only be seen by Miguel. Santiago wants Miguel to find his body so he can be set free. When he’s not with Miguel, the limbo he experiences is terrifying. Miguel doesn’t want to find the body. He can have his lover and no one will ever know because he can’t be seen.
The price Miguel pays for the deception is high.
Yes. If we must label the movie, it is a gay film. And that will turn some people off. While some of the sex scenes might be uncomfortable, the dilemma Miguel faces and the ostracism of his community toward gays is very well done by writer/director Javier Fuentes-Leon.
You can juxtapose any secret, sexual or not, to Miguel’s struggle. We all have them. Each of us, at one time or another, faces having to come clean or run. Confess or be oppressed by whatever shame are experiencing.
While it’s a bit long, Undertow is a decent story, the acting is terrific and it’s a chance to take a peek at what other cultures think of the issue.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated R for gay sex, mature themes. It plays one-time only — 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18 at the Battelle Auditorium in Richland.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.