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Save Me - independent film DVD / film festival DVD / drama DVD review
SAVE ME Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Featuring: Chad Allen, Robert Gant, Judith Light, Stephen Lang, Paul McGowen
Director: Robert Cary   Distributor: First Run Features
DVD release: 20 January 2009   Runtime: 96 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD Features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English), Interviews, Deleted Scenes, Photo Gallery, Biographies, Resource Guide

Mark (Chad Allen) has hit rock bottom - or if not rock bottom, he can at least see it from here. A drug-addicted gay man, he overdoses after a hook-up in a motel room and ends up in the hospital. His brother is sick of his crap, and not wanting their poor mother's heart broken any more than it is, he sends Mark off to Genesis House - a Christian de-gayification camp in New Mexico. Here Mark can find the spiritual guidance he needs, stay clean, and try to develop a thing for chicks.

Gayle and Ted (Judith Light and Stephen Lang) run Genesis House, holding regular prayer and activities to keep the boys there from giving in to their natural instincts. Mark is reluctant at first and thinks he may leave on the first night. He's still recovering from his addiction and not completely detoxed yet. Scott (Robert Gant) gives him a smoke and keeps him from leaving. Soon Mark and Scott are becoming good friends, making birdhouses together to hopefully sell to raise money for Genesis House.

Save Me is a pretty non-confrontational and unconventional love story: two men meet in an unlikely place and fall in love. Judith Light is excellent as the haunted Evangelical Christian trying to save these gay men from the fate that befell her son. She believes she's doing the Lord's work and that it's her mission in life. She struggles to control the fate of these men and panics when they assert their free will. Ted is more laid-back. The guys are going to do what they want to do. Gayle and Ted can provide the guideposts, but the young men smust make their own way.

Where Save Me frustrates is in the lack of detail of the methods used to try to turn gay men straight. Director Robert Cary seemed reluctant to show this lest he vilify anti-gay Christians, perhaps. There are occasional instances of behavior correction, as when Ted asks a young man named Dustin to cross his legs in a more manly way.

Mark's roommate Lester (Robert Baker) seems the remorseless enabler. He'd like to see a gay couple as healthy role models. I know I like to see that.

Save Me isn't bad, but in pulling punches on the straightening out of these men, it loses leverage with me. The characters are believable, but the depth of the story could use some work.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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