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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2012
True love can be difficult to realize in the face of innumerable and unknown life impediments. These impediments, along with self-inflicted wounds from the emotional DNA we all carry (and which often expresses itself in relationship(s) with others), leaves these two people blissful, vulnerable and ignorant. Drug addiction or an addiction of any kind is anathema to any relationship(s). Often there is the enabler/co-dependent and the addicted one, who doesn't perceive the danger ahead. We get all of this in Keep the Lights On. It is a roller coaster of discovery for both of the individuals in the relationship, fascinating and heartbreaking to watch, but never vapid. Over a decade, the individuals in this story really do try to find a way to make their relationship work and it was refreshing to see the enormous, even herculean effort the two principals in this love drama expend in order to save each other and their relationship. The acting is superb and the attention to detail in the direction (showing not telling), draws the viewers into the depths of what two individuals may experience on the road to finding themselves and one another.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2013
When I watched this film I kept thinking, "How real this is as far as relationships go!" The story may be ordinary (drug addicted lover can't give up the drugs and realize the real prize of his life), but this story tells it with a twist. I truly loved the movie. The people who say that nothing happens in this movie must not have stayed with it to the end. Thure Lindhart plays a convincing role as a young gay male, Eric, looking for sex and unexpectedly finding romance. He falls in love, but his lover has a secret: an addiction to crack. At first they share the drug together as an overture to love making, but eventually Paul, the addicted lover, cannot move on, much less realize that the most important thing in is life is actually his lover, Eric, and not the drugs he uses. Their decade-long relationship is a veritable roller-coaster (as most are in real life) and Eric goes above and beyond trying to save their relationship, trying to help Paul kick the habit and realize how much Eric loves him. There are scenes that clearly show how much both men love each other, and their lovemaking is erotic and touching (though there is no full-frontal nudity per se). There are also some unexpected scenes that add a twist to this not-so-uncommon tale of jinxed love -- such as the scene where Eric is compelled to watch while his lover Paul is screwed by a male prostitute while he, Eric, sits on the bed next to them during the act. I found the acting to be quite believable, and overall, the movie definitely drew me into their unfortunate love affair. When Eric finally realizes he cannot continue down this path, he cuts the cord to the one man he has truly loved for the past 10 years. And just when it seems that Paul may finally have gotten his life back on track, Eric realizes he cannot accept the terms that Paul has demanded of him for them to stay together. When the movie ended, I felt like I had been witness to an emotionally wrenching depiction of a ill-fated love affair, and although I longed to see Eric and Paul finally get the love they both deserved, I was not disappointed with the ending, which was not a "they lived happily every after" affair. To me this movie depicted the emotional trauma that so many modern relationships go through, only this time it was a tale of two gay men at once ok with their sexuality (so many gay films focus on the one character who can't quite come out or admit he is gay) and probing the limits of trust between two individuals traveling down different paths of life. I did not feel I had wasted my time watching this film. I have watched a LOT of gay-themed movies, and I would rate this as one of the better ones by far.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2013
I watched this film at Sundance and then again at Tribeca after it had won the Teddy Award at Berlin. I think the film is superbly done, and it approaches a relationship without judging its characters. It is also extremely well acted, and the lensing is fantastic, with a grainy beauty and a cinematography that reflects the 10 year journey the characters go through.

Great Film,
Highly Recommend it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2013
It's NYC in the late 1990's, where Erik (Thure Lindhardt) is a budding filmmaker from Denmark, supported by his family while working on a documentary for the past four years. While trolling for sex on a phone line, he meets Paul (Zachary Booth), and closeted attorney for a publisher, they discover a sexual and emotional connection, and eventually move in together. Erik is aware, early on, that Paul smokes crack cocaine, but is unaware of how his addiction is growing, to the point where he eventually disappears from his job and their apartment. They manage to stay together for close to a decade, despite Paul's stints in rehab and subsequent failures to maintain his sobriety. Erik sees Paul's failures as a reflection of his own inability to follow-through on things (like his film), and becomes obsessed with "saving" Paul, despite friends' advice and common sense telling him it just may not happen, despite his best efforts and intentions.

Based loosely on a personal experience by the movie's director/co-writer, Ira Sacks, the film's subject matter is obviously rather dark and depressing at times, though realistic for someone going through a rather masochistic relationship with an addict. The acting and technical quality are first rate, although the film's pacing seems to bog down at times, suggesting that more editing would have been an improvement. Film is unrated (would be an R for sexual content, though no complete nudity), and appeared in several film festivals (including Sundance). DVD extras include "Making of" short, deleted scenes, commentary and auditions. Although this film has gotten a lot of attention, I didn't find it that impressive, and am being generous with three stars out of five.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2013
This is a very well done portrayal of the degradation of a person who has taken to very heavy drugs and it's effects on those around him. It is also a record of loyalty and love of one person to the other until even that is stretched beyond its limits, through the endless programs of detoxification. 'Smack' will never let go of an addict--it seems to go to molecular level and can't be gotten out.
The story was well told by the actors, particularly by Thure Lindhardt and Zachary Booth. The final scenes were, as they should be,
an ending as it had to be, Erik finally realising that he could do no more. In fact, he had well and truly found that Paul wasn't the person he loved at all. Paul had been a stranger for some time--Erik's friends had tried to tell him--and as we all know, love makes one want to overcome all difficulties, and it takes a very strong person to finally admit he has failed. But at least he had tried for 9 years. At the end I was, hoping that Erik would find find someone else. I wonder if he did? I liked this film for its honesty.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2013
And yes, there is gay sex and PG nudity, but that's not the "adult" I reference. Usually gay films for me are a big D. D for dull; D for dreary; D for depressing and disillusioned.

With "Keep the Lights On" I begin to hold some sliver of hope that gay film making and writing may be finally ready to grow up. In this movie audiences are treated to the life cycle of a gay relationship between 30-something men in Manhattan. The realistic and non-sensational treatment of sexual incompatibility and drug addiction are nicely done. Although clearly dysfunctional, the two main characters were fixtures in each other's life.

So refreshing a respite from the inane 20-something chatter played out in a club setting about who's hot and who can sleep with whom next. I wouldn't mind more gay ADULT (in the best meaning of the word) films of this caliber.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2013
Keep The Lights On (2012). Not Rated. Running Time: 1 hour, 41 mins.
Directed by Ira Sachs. Written by Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias.
Original Music by Arthur Russell.
The movie previews before the option menu can not be skipped. They have to play through to get to the option menu.

Erik (Thure Lindhardt) is on a gay phone line service trying to talk to and meet someone for the evening. He gets a hook and goes to Chelsea. At the apartment, he meets Paul (Zachary Booth), they kiss immediately and have sex.
Afterwards, Paul tells Erik he has a girlfriend and not to get his hopes up.
The next morning, Eric has a radio interview where he talks about being a filmmaker.
Erik meets another man, Russ (Sebastian LaCause), but he just wants to show off his muscular body. No sex.
Of all the men, Erik has met, it is Paul he develops a relationship with. Erik even finds out he does not have HIV. So everything is okay, right?
Paul has a secret.

Also in the cast: Paprika Steen, Sarah Hess, Justin Markell, Miguel del Toro. Marilyn Neimark, James Bidgood, John Michael Cox, Henry Arango, Agosto Arango, Todd Verow appear as themselves.

Contains male nudity and sexual situations.

In-film advertising: Banana Republic.

Language and Subtitles in English only.

Audio Commentary with Director Ira Sochs.

Special Features: In Search of Avery Willard. Making of Keep The Lights On. 5 Deleted Scenes. Thure Lindhardt audition. Zachary Booth audition. Teaser Trailer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2013
This is a story of a true love when one person is a drug addict and the other in a promising career and trying to deal with their great love for the addicted person. It eventually comes down to rehab and making a decision that not only will change your life but to rid yourself of the poison people in your relationships even though you truly love them. This is a straight from the shoulder movie that I am sure plays itself over and over in many relationships and certainly in gay ones. Worth the watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 8, 2013
James Sallis is undoubtedly an excellent author. He has a way of writing that is both languorous and compelling at the same time; however he can also be confusing, ponderous and minimalist - which are not necessarily criticisms. This tells the story of an ageing, ailing, Vietnam veteran, hit man, who is on his last `hit', when someone gets there first. Christian finds it strange that such a lowly target was picked in the first place (a low grade run of the mill accountant) and the fact that someone gets there first and messes up.

He is being investigated by Detective Sayles, whose wife is also dying, he becomes obsessed with finding the guy after being left a cryptic clue involving the ambiguous, internet selling of `dolls'. Add to the mix a young teenage boy, whose parents have abandoned him, and who is surviving by selling second hand tat on the internet, and you have a strange triumvirate, that sort of becomes a crime novel. Oh and Jimmie the young lad, is also having the dreams that belong to Christian the hit man.

This is a short book, with short and often economical chapters, some merely more than a page long. It has a quality which had me making comparisons to Cormac McCarthy, but Sallis is nowhere near his league, he seems to try to emulate the descriptive flow that McCarthy has, but he never captures the beauty of the language nor the poetry in the every day or mundane. He is though, compelling and kept me guessing, but its not what I would have termed a crime novel either. There is very little crime, the police do not exactly give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money, in terms of criminal analysis, but it does work. There is an attention to detail and the abstract that brings a humanity to the work, it will not be to everbodies taste though and is one of those books that you may glean more from on a subsequent reading. Whilst I was not bowled over, I still finished it in three sittings, so I must have been caught in its thrall. If you like off beat stories which do not hold your hand and not answer all the questions you may want, then this will be one for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2013
I can't really think of anything that sets the story itself apart from other stories about addiction. The acting performances successfully portray the love, pain, anger, sorrow etc. so well, and maintain a certain tension throughout. I enjoyed Thure Lindhardt very much.
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