“Rotting in the Sun”
Rotten Tomatoes (3.5/5), Metacritic (7/10), Letterboxd (3.5/5), Imdb.com (7/10), TMDB.com (3.5/5)
When an overwrought, angst-ridden, drug addicted filmmaker (Sebastián Silva playing a fictional version of himself) unexpectedly meets a wacky, unhinged comedian/social media influencer (Jordan Firstman playing a fictional version of himself) at a gay Mexican beach resort, the troubled director does all he can to distance himself from his new acquaintance when he becomes interminably annoying, especially in his incessant, unfocused pitches for collaborating on a new movie project. But, when the financially strapped filmmaker returns to his home in Mexico City, he reluctantly relents on the comic’s offer when all his other production proposals are turned down by would-be backers. He thus invites his new writing partner to come stay with him while they hammer out the script, but, upon his collaborator’s arrival, he finds the director has mysteriously disappeared. What ensues is a humorous gay comedy-mystery in which clues about the disappearance slowly emerge. At the same time, however, the story also delves into some surprisingly mature and insightful themes, developments very much in contrast to the film’s screwball narrative and its somewhat manic opening act. Writer-director Silva’s latest thus presents viewers with an intriguing combination of plot elements that one might think shouldn’t belong in the same picture but that work surprisingly well together. While it’s true that the ending seems somewhat abrupt and that some segments run on a little too long (particularly in the first half-hour), with a few others that could have been omitted entirely, the majority of the material nevertheless holds together well, making for an entertaining, if somewhat offbeat, time at the movies. Sensitive viewers are strongly cautioned, however, that the film features numerous scenes with explicit depictions of gay male sexuality, so those who are easily given to offense may wish to pass on this unrated release. Those considerations aside, though, this is a film that’s more than it might superficially seem, particularly the further one gets into the story. It’s quite an eye-opening ride into a world that many may be unfamiliar with, but it’s also one that simultaneously makes us laugh and makes us think – a rare combination to be found in the same picture, to be sure.