Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bashing Back: "FAQs" (2006)

This odd film is a touching and frustrating look at gay bashing victims, and the bashers themselves.

India (Joe Lia), fresh from getting ripped off by a local porno director in L.A., is attacked by Guy (Adam Larson) and Quentin (Josh Paul). India is saved by a pistol packing drag queen named Destiny (a sensational Allan Louis), who takes India home. India, Destiny, and troubled lesbian Lester (Minerva Vier) form an odd family unit, continually haranguing the straights who always seem to be lurking around with an insulting comment or threats of violence.

India takes in Spencer (Lance Lee Davis), a very troubled young man obsessed with killing his abusive parents with a homemade bomb. India follows through on a theory that Guy and Quentin are gay, while Destiny falls for a neighborhood police detective (Vince Parenti). The family find themselves tempted with the same violent impulses they have been subjected to in the past.

Writer and director Everett Lewis delivers an allegory that draws moral lines in the sand before quickly blurring those borders. The quasi-family see themselves as victims, not aware of what they are capable of. Lewis tells the story, only standing on a soapbox in the last few scenes.

The cast is good, with Louis' Destiny a stand out. The film's look is heavily saturated and dark. I was never sure where Lewis was going with his script, expecting both "The Last Supper"-type murderous satire, then "To Wong Foo..."-type tolerance messages. I did feel many of the characters were written to broadly. India and Spencer look too handsome and healthy for the streets, and Quentin's over the top trailer redneck seems out of place in a West Hollywood setting. I am still wondering why the character Lester is even here, as she always seems to be "at work," never becoming a major player in the plots. Many, many of the climactic lines fall flat; declarations of love that are forced.

Lewis does enough to slightly recommend "FAQs" (terrible title), from the creepy Texas Republican Party platform opening crawl, to speaking out against violence from bashers and their victims alike. With this willing cast, I guess I wanted to see more focus in the script. (* * *) out of five stars.