Monday, September 10, 2012

Keep the Lights On

The gay encounter-turned-decade-long romance "Keep the Lights On" would have been better without its been-there-done-that drug-abuse storyline. It introduces an appealing protagonist in Erik (Thure Lindhardt), a Danish documentary filmmaker in NYC who spends his nights in bars and clubs and the blue-balled frustration of abortive phone sex. One night he hooks up with Paul (Zachary Booth), an attorney at Random House, and the connection is deep and instantaneous, sexual but more as well. (They keep saying they should get out of bed, but don't.) They become a couple, but over the course of years Paul turns to crack, and the movie becomes just too much drama, with interventions between the myriad break-ups and reunions. Erik is cute and puppyish, but Paul is underdrawn and unappealingly femme-y, and some of their tiffs are downright girly. "Keep the Lights On" becomes repetitive and boring, and doesn't work as a character study because Erik and Paul remain creatures of the script: We see Erik work on his films only fitfully and never with much enthusiasm, and Paul's in-house position in publishing goes nowhere.

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