Review: ‘Boys From Madrid’

The members of a high school track team, most who were sexually molested by their demanding coach (Vance Strickland), regroup to attend their 10-year reunion in Carlo Gustaff's "Boys From Madrid," an unpleasant road-movie-cum-revenge-melodrama that becomes so absurd and pretentious that it trivializes its unnerving subject matter.

The members of a championship high school track team, all but one of whom were sexually molested by their demanding coach (Vance Strickland), regroup to attend their 10-year reunion in Carlo Gustaff’s “Boys From Madrid,” an exceedingly unpleasant road-movie-cum-revenge-melodrama that becomes, by turns, so thoroughly absurd and pretentious that it wholly trivializes its unnerving subject matter.

Handsomely shot pic (in a bleached-out, MTV style) begins promisingly, with nice camaraderie among its quartet of leading thesps, but it’s downhill from there. Gustaff makes cheap suspense effects out of his protags’ deep dark secret and then takes a singularly ludicrous turn as the boys put the coach on “trial” in their former locker room, pummeling him with questions and punches alike, while he remains bloodied, bound and gagged. Gustaff seems to be after some sort of dialectic about the fine line between victim and aggressor, but the results are plastic and ineffectual, made more so by a series of unnecessarily graphic flashback scenes that contain all the aesthetic merit of softcore porn.

Boys From Madrid

Production

A Manchego Films presentation. Produced by Theo Pagones, Carlo Gustaff, Kenneth Schwenker. Executive producers, Christopher Carlsson, Adolfo Suava, Steve Austin. Co-producer, Dana J. Macduff. Directed by Carlo Gustaff. Screenplay, Gustaff, Kathryn Willis, Theo Pagones.

Crew

Camera (color), Thomas Hencz; editor, Nena Olwage; music, Marcus Trumpp; production designer, Donna Willinsky; sound, John Treblcock; assistant director, Lynnette M. Myers; casting, Claire Sinnett, Steve Archer. Reviewed on videocassette, L.A., July 29, 2001. (In Dances With Films Film Festival, L.A.) Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Theo Pagones, Jesse Harper, Christopher Jacobs, Elan James, Betsy Monroe, Vance Strickland.
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