Walt is a young lower-class shopkeeper who lives a necessarily minimal existence. He longs for Johnny, a young Mexican immigrant who frequents his store often and who in turn repulsed and intrigued by his friendly advances. Johnny and his best friend Roberto always hang around. Walt makes his first pass at Johnny by offering him $15 to sleep with him. He refuses, so settling for second best, Walt takes Roberto home and they have sex. However, he does not give up on trying to win over Johnny. He befriends them and the trio hang out together goofing around. One day Johnny suddenly vanishes and both Walt and Roberto don't know why. They become close friends and Walt thinks maybe he can get Roberto but he eventually is killed by police. Johnny comes back after he was forcibly sent back to Mexico and reaches out to Walt as a friend. But hearing about Roberto angers him and he just leaves Walt's place. Maybe Walt will have to move on.
The chemistry and the interactions between these 3 individuals could be an interesting study. It's like three individuals, lost in a barely navigable jungle of a big city, users and abusers but also friends and lovers. They all need each other for money, for comfort, for fun and have some ulterior motives too. There is a bit of power play. Walt throws money but the Mexican boys know they have youth hand charm. And isn’t imbalance of power the basis for a certain kind of sexual attraction? Its interesting how Walt comes to assume a quasi-parental role, teaching them to drive, take care of them and drive them for holidays even though he is a young boy himself. Actor playing Walt is very charming IMO. He is likable, decent, relatively well-adjusted, confident in his own skin and sort of knows most people in the neighborhood. Yes he is desperate for Johnny and he admits. And Johnny takes full advantage of the situation. The film's direction is very unique. Shot in black and white, most scenes are unusually dark and sometimes hard to comprehend. The film just follows 3 men with their relationships unbalanced by age, language, money, race and sex.
This film was quite decent, especially given it came out moons ago. The film is not slow, but somehow doesn't move beyond Walt willing to do anything to be with the boys. I fail to understand his desperation when he himself is quite handsome and charming. Still worth a watch. (5.5//10)