Sex and Violence
“Endgame” (TLA Releasing) is one of those movies that you love to hate and hate to love. Directed by Gary Wicks, it has some of the most brutal and blood chilling scenes I have ever seen and it also has a wonderful script and fine acting. A rent boy, Tom, (played by hunky Daniel Newman) is being kept by George Norris (Mark McGann) who is wildly masochistic and a gangster. George has set Tom up in a special bedroom furnished for two purposes—sexual pleasure and blackmail and he uses Tom as part of a lurid scheme that involves drugs, money and protection. From almost the moment this movie begins there is brutality—not just good old movie brutality—but the kind that causes you to grimace. There is one scene in a gay bar that I am never likely going to forget. If you like thrillers this is the movie for you. It is sexy, unnerving and very disquieting. There is not a dull moment in this move.
The term endgame comes from Chess and it is the final plan one has before winning (or losing). And this movie s about those final moves.
Through the use of flashbacks, we learn of Tom’s childhood and how he came to become involved in male hustling. His past was one of abuse and unhappiness, his present is sordid, and his future does not look too good. As the recipient of much of the brutality in the film, he is also subjected to a great deal of verbal abuse. His “job description” says that he must turn tricks while his master takes care of the blackmailing. When he suddenly becomes involved in murder, Tom manages to flee his master and run away with the help of American friends but his problems are not yet over. There are some extremely graphic sex scenes as he settles into country living, Here is where I stop giving details so as not to spoil the movie for you.
One of the pluses of this film is how t manages to draw the viewer into the characters, as despicable as they may be. From the get go when sex and currency are equalized, the characters somehow manage to suck us in—into their minds, their psyches, and their brutality. This has not happened to me since “Bonnie and Clyde”.
Sex has the power—it commands power and it can instill fear. When Tom is drawn into the seedy scheme, we are taken into a world that is disgustingly twisted. Tom becomes a hapless pawn in one of George’s narcotic schemes with a Welsh cop who abuses his position of power. What ensues is a vicious circle of blood money, vice, and ruthless violence from which there seems to be no exit. Here is a study of concentrated evil—the character (George) is so obsessed with power and is indifferent to human suffering that he represents the personification of pure evil. In fact this movie would do well being subtitled as “A Study in the Nature of Evil”. As violent as the movie is, what makes it even more interesting is that there is also a great deal of violence that you do not see—it is only suggested—but it seems as if you are actually seeing it as well.
Here is one of those thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat while you cringe and cover your face. There is so happy ending and the chorus line will not appear on the screen with the final credits. I was relieved it was over because it meant that the violence stopped—but it didn’t. I actually awoke in the middle of a sound sleep. Haunted by some of the images I saw.