Formally fascinating and sexually frank, the audacious latest from director Robin Campillo takes us to the edge of discomfort as it presents a middle-aged Frenchman’s entanglement with a group of young Eastern European hustlers — and gives way to a love story with a conscience.
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This movie is longer than 2 hours, but you don't notice for the time to pass. It starts as a psychological experience (what would you do in Daniel's shoes if you set your own house robbery?), then things calm down as Daniel and Marek know each other in a very tender way, and the rollercoaster of emotions comes again for the final apogee. If more people saw this movie, prostitution ratings would definitely come down.
The opening sequence at the train station, by itself, would guarantee the interest of this film: a close reading of a space(s) and its sounds, a real place that will come fictional by découpage. Becoming is an important factor of the fiction and the film, in the fourth chapter, at the immigrants hotel,finds the excellence of its beginning. The boy who plays the young Ukrainian is of a Bressonian correctness.
I very much enjoyed this edgy mixture of thriller, gay romance and sociopolitical criticism. This man and these boys (specially Boss and Marek/Rouslan) are very magnetic and the mood is very tense right from the start. That was, hands down, the best robbery scene ever!
Strong performances anchor an unusual story arc. "The opening shots of the teeming Gare du Nord set the tone of a movie that is a Darwinian social mosaic examined without cynicism." - Stephen Holden, NYTimes
Unsettling because of the harshness of the Eastern hustlers but I grew to empathize with their plight. I liked how the protagonist handled all the situations thrust upon him. The film develops slowly but if you stick with it you will be rewarded. The cinematography is fresh and interesting.
A social drama, a love story, a thriller; "Eastern boys" is many things but at the core it's about the situation of immigrants "sans papier" in Europe. It works this theme on many levels and it's this multi-layeredness that makes the movie special. The characters are also well written and the actors do a fine job in bringing them to life.