If you were ever wondering what "Flowers in the Attic" would be like set to the backdrop of a gay porn film, check out "Luna Park." The film focuses on a high art sensibility but does under-deliver on story. It’s disappointing because given the limitations of production value, the film would be more entertaining if it had a more cohesive storyline.
The film focuses on a family separated on two coasts. Alexia Bisset (Laura Reilly) is an actress turned gay icon in New York City. She sends her bland yet snarky assistant Maxwell (Michael Brent) to a building she owns in Los Angeles, Luna Park. Her sexy and precocious brother Christi (Taylor Caldwell) has gotten into trouble and in the process gone mute. As expected, Maxwell and Christi get embroiled in a secret sexual relationship that threatens their relationship with Alexia. And, for no particular reason, there are multiple flashbacks in a French art film style.
Ultimately, it just seems like a misuse of a lot of elements. The black and white French segments are part of a short film made by Steven Vasquez. There’s also the gratuitous use of incest that does not add drama or tension to the dull film just really makes it seem sloppy. Ultimately, it ends up feeling like an art-house porn film with the graphic sex taken out. The dialogue feels jagged and forced and some of the performances seem flat.
While many of the actors feel dull and lifeless some performances are salvageable. Caldwell does manage to extend beyond the sexy naked boy in the trailer. Sure many gay movies have a cover boy but Caldwell’s Christi is mischievous and he manages to insert some energy and joie de vive into the role. He also manages to still be playful despite being gratuitously mute. Reilly is also decent at playing both the soft younger Alexia and the harder ball-busting producer.
The toughest part of the film is finding the motivation. The driving force behind the characters and their choices seem to be lacking so the film just seems like an attempt at being artistic for art’s sake. However, once guys start taking their clothes off for no reason, credibility goes out the window. Sex can be great and a great vehicle for tension and passion in films. However, "Luna Park" feels like b-roll for bad porn from the 1980s intercut with a French student film.
"Luna Park" suffers from too much ambition. Striving to be a visually masterful art film, without certain visual elements it just feels pretentious. Given the limitations of a gay indie budget, the film cannot deliver the level of visual mastery to really do it justice. Instead you get a slightly one-note film about a bunch of hardly interesting characters...and some naked men.