Wild Tigers I Have Known

Gay tween longing presented without leering (or coherence).

Shot like those old Bruce Weber homoerotic prepubescent ads for Calvin Klein and scored with wind chimes, raindrops, and grunts, Cam Archer's feature about a 13-year-old boy with a crush on a high-school wrestler (Patrick White) is willfully inscrutable. Only a few words are spoken throughout, and it takes a good 17 minutes before you even learn the name of the lead character, Logan (Malcolm Stumpf, a prettier Wiley Wiggins). An exercise in the artsy and fartsy, Wild Tigers owes as much to Jonathan Caouette's skittering, self-reflexive doc Tarnation as it does to the early movies of exec producer Gus Van Sant. On the one hand, you want to applaud Archer for making a movie that asks you to feel more than follow; his film is less story than mood music—a sad song about a troubled, needy outsider trying to find his way in. The best scenes are those between Logan and his pal Joey, an outer-space-obsessed nerdling who makes lists of ways to be cool ("Mohawk, designer shades, subscribe to Vice") that are genuine, funny, and sad. But the film is more a feat of look-at-me-Ma derring-do than something resonant, meaningful, and just the slightest bit moving.

 
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