Drugs, Drugs, Drugs and Bois
We know that drug addiction is a problem in the gay community and especially at circuit parties, but “Circuit” (TLA Releasing) goes a bit to far with its assumption that everyone at a circuit party is a druggie. The film does say what the drug laden circuit party syndrome does to its victims but it presents a picture that is not true for anyone. But have no feat, there is a happy ending.
Dirk Shafer (former Playgirl man of the year and subject of a film of that name) directed this expose of the circuit party scene. It is an interesting look at the gay dance marathons that travel the United States. Let me start with the good points. The characters are beautiful specimens of masculinity and can even act. The story is compelling and interesting and the costumes are fantastic. The characters are such that they make you care for them. The idea of a movie within a movie is wonderful and it allowed the characters to express their points of view and showed them at their most vulnerable even though they saw themselves as invincible. The deterioration of the characters is real but hard to watch because it is real. There are some excellent performances and by and large the movie is well done. It also makes those that disagree with it angry. It is a picture of the way some live but it does not represent all of us. It is about circuit boys and not about the gays that live a regular life. It is not just about circuit parties as it explores the characters in detail.
It all begins with a cop in the Midwest who leaves it behind to move to West Hollywood and opens up his repressed past and learns to accept it. He experiences everything about circuit life—the drugs, the sex, the emphasis on physical appearance and beauty and he falls from grace and has to deal with the results of his drug use and the changes in his lifestyle.
We get to know other characters too and the viewer gains a sense of who they are and why they behave the way they do. Some of the issues dealt with in the movie are the fear of aging and the perpetual party, perfect body toning, and of course drug usage. It has something to say and if you can get through the shallowness that hits you in the face at first, there is something to see and absorb. It is a good depiction of the subject matter. The bodies are amazing, the guys are handsome. It presents a very deductive atmosphere.
What failed in the movie? For one the sound is horrible although the soundtrack is great. It is very hard to understand some of what is said. Production value is sorely lacking and although some of the characters deliver fine performances there are some really weak ones as well.
Overall, I enjoyed the film but I did see its shortcomings. It is a move toward helping us establish a genre of our own so it is welcome. Even if it is not perfect, it has something to say.