Monday, February 11, 2013
Short and sweet, the Israeli import "Yossi" (a decade-later sequel to "Yossi and Jagger") tells of Dr. Yossi Hoffman (Ohad Knoller), a cardiologist with a busy practice in Tel Aviv and a secret life as a lonely, closeted gay man who spends his nights reading books, jacking off to porn videos, and trolling hookup sites for NSA sex.
Individual scenes in "Yossi" hold your interest, as when he recognizes a woman at the hospital for an electrocardiogram as the mother of his boyfriend from his days of military service. He steps in to conduct the test and converse with her, later showing up at her house to reveal himself - her husband recognizes him, but only as his late son's former commander - in a sequence fraught with tension. Director Eytan Fox also builds tension in a memorable scene in which Yossi accepts a late-night invitation from a guy who hits him up in a chatroom. When he arrives, the guy's every bit as hot as his picture, but scolds Yossi for sending a picture that's obviously a few years and several pounds out of date.
Unfortunately, there are no big payoffs. And there's just too much coincidence packed into the 83-minute runtime. It's okay for a once-a-year event to occur during the time frame of your movie, but when once-a-year-events happen every day because you can't make everyday events cinematically compelling, that's your failing as a filmmaker. The last half hour of the picture, in which Yossi offers a ride to four soldiers who missed their bus to Eilat, then begins a halting romance with one of them (a hunky openly gay lad named Tom), devolves into pure fantasy.
Yossi's an interesting character, and Knoller makes him pleasant company, but there's not enough meat on the movie's bones.