BAG BOY LOVER BOY (2014)
Directed by Andres Torres
Albert, a young Swedish guy living in Manhattan, works as a streetside hotdog vendor, serving the hungry workers and residents of New York with cheap, greasy grub. When Lexy, the object of his affection, visits his stall, only to bag a free hotdog off him whilst flirting with a photographer customer, Albert realises the only way to get her interested in him is to become a photographer himself. Whilst working as a fast food vendor, he’s offered a job by big-time local photographer Ivan who feels he’d be perfect for his photo shoots. Expecting to learn the tricks of the trade, Albert is disappointed when he’s forced to pose in front of the camera, committing dubious acts in the name of Ivan’s fetish photography. Adamant he wants to learn how to become a photographer himself and not be a model, Ivan cuts a deal with him to teach him how to shoot in exchange for continuing the well-paid modelling contract.
When Ivan abruptly leaves Manhattan to embark on a $25,000 photo shoot in Milan, Albert takes it upon himself to master the art of photography himself, using what few skills he’s picked up from Ivan. He also takes advantage of Ivan’s studio, unbeknown to him, after accidentally leaving his keys with him. Determined to win the affection of Lexy, he will stop at nothing to become the artistic genius he knows in his heart she won’t be able to resist.
BAG BOY LOVER BOY is a gritty urban thriller that centres around the lonely, slow-witted Albert and his unique, limited outlook on life and how the actions by others could have inadvertent effects.
Jon Wachter puts in a brilliant performance as the dim, shy Albert who is seemingly taken advantage of by the manipulative, career-driven photographer Ivan (an outstanding Theodore Bouloukos). Self-centred and determined to deliver his fetish artwork, he treats his models who don’t cooperate like shit and only suffers Albert because he needs him more than Albert does. When they come to verbal blows regarding the lack of photography skills being taught, Ivan relents and gives him a dummy-proof Polaroid camera to learn with, something that appears to be a challenge even for Albert. Forcing Albert to undertake shoots, in which he covers the female model’s head with a plastic bag and simulates strangulation to bending over a piggy-nosed model over a BBQ and prodding her with a hand fork, it’s no wonder Albert develops a warped view on what real photography is as he sets about finding his own models on the streets of Manhattan.
The subsequent unravelling of Albert as he begins to find his feet in the world of “art”, from being a lonely hotdog vendor who’s used to jerking off to posters of naked women in his stall when he’s not serving customers sausages he’s dropped on the floor, is as sad as it is disturbed. Here’s a bloke who, through no fault of his own, finds himself taken advantage of as his interest in photography is hijacked by someone else with a desire to exploit his quirky nature. This, coupled with Albert’s warped thought process and one track desire, plays out for a horrifying final third which isn’t afraid of injecting a bit of dark humour into the depravity.
Whilst BAG BOY LOVER BOY isn’t so much a horror than a thriller, there’s still plenty here to make your skin crawl as this tale could feasibly happen in the real world. Stranger things have been reported in real life and what goes on in someone’s mind, stable or unstable, can produce some dangerous results, especially when manipulated.
A refreshing surprise with a delightfully dark execution, BAG BOY LOVER BOY is a strangely alluring cinematic slice of exploitation sleaze.