Wednesday, April 14, 2021

‘Loose’ review: Love in and out of lockup

In the romantic drama “Loose”, lovers do not meet under ideal conditions. Ruben (Ernesto Reyes) is a new prisoner in a minimum security prison, and is tasked with bunking up with Carlos (Jessie Tieh), who immediately threatens him over the use of their shared sink. When Ruben fights back, this is the first sign that the pair can match up evenly.

Carlos starts warming up to Reuben, and he becomes a protector as Reuben adjusts to prison life. As a roommate, they dine together, and they move around together. They share stories from their past and dreams to their promise. They are intimate before ever having sex.

The film follows the relationship from their humble beginnings to their lives outside the prison, with the couple falling apart due to the length of separation. When Ruben finds Carlos after his release, Carlos invites his ex-lover back into his life.

Together, the pair must decide if the connection they made in imprisonment is worth carrying into their free lives – if each wants to meet the other and merge with the family. The relationship between Ruben and Carlos alternates between passionate sex and whispering intimacy.

The film’s writer and director, John Garcia, explicitly considers the physicality of their romance, staging realistic love scenes that reflect the attraction between the characters. But Gracia is less adept at finding passion between sex scenes. There is a seriousness in the relationship between Ruben and Carlos that is becoming prevalent. The first time the strings resonate in the film’s score, they feel a plaintive, engrossed. When the same theme plays for the 15th time, the romance sounds monotonous.

Not rated. Running Time: 1 hour 58 minutes. In theaters and on Lemmal’s virtual cinema. Please consult guidelines Outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching the film inside theaters.

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