Coming to your digital and streaming services this week is the new LGBT film Hooked starring Conor Donnally, Terrance Murphy, and Sean Ormond. Hooked tells the story of two runaway gay young men who are living in a hostel in New York City and trying to save money to be able to stand on their own two feet as a proud couple in NYC. They are both putting behind them bad home lives and toxic family members and do whatever they can to stay afloat. Tom (Ormond) is a freelance photographer, and Jack (Donnally) works as a male escort and is, of course, the primary source of income for these two. When an opportunity that has the potential to help them move to their own place presents itself Jack jumps at the opportunity. He is approached by a married man who is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and decides the best way to find out for certain is to hire an escort and take him away for a weekend in Miami, away from his wife and young child. With Jack's luck being what it is things do not go according to plan, leaving him stranded in Florida with the only thing he has to sell to get home, himself.
The trailer for this film seemed really interesting to me and the film's concept definitely has potential. However, the execution of this movie left a lot to be desired. The overall, acting ability of some of these characters definitely needed some work and possibly more directorial guidance. Many parts of the film kept feeling incredibly cheesy. It was really kind of disappointing because of some of the tough subjects the film tried to tackle seem to fall flat. The film editing could have possibly helped with these, though there were parts of the film that I watched where the movie felt badly dubbed over and it didn't even seem if the actor's mouths matched up to the words they were saying.
The worse part of this movie is the way is downplays many of the more serious moments of the film like rape and the fact that Jack, who openly admits to having a borderline personality disorder is barely functional if he doesn't have someone with him guiding him on to his next move. It downplays mental illness and what an impact it has on Jack's current situation. The two sexual assaults that take place in the film are also fairly subdued. One gets blown off as no big deal with Tom, who is the more feminine of the two, is left behind while Jack is in Miami and falls victim to one of their hostel roommates. The scene ends with Tom a sarcastic joke, which seems like it isn't even taking this seriously. Something about it just felt, wrong. Jack's scene is much more intense, but the events that happen shortly after are almost comical and take away from the intensity of it what he just went through.
Overall, this movie felt like a bit of a let down for me. I wanted to enjoy this more than I did. The film ends with stats about LGBT youth being more at risk of running away and being the victims o sexual abuse and suicide and those are some pretty strong topics that I felt could have been handled better. The entire storyline with Ken almost felt like a late addition to the story. This just wasn't what I was expecting. Overall we gave this film a C-. Definitely check it out for yourselves and please leave your thoughts in the comments!
Hooked hits DVD and Video On Demand June 5th!