Blurred Lines is a coming-of-age film that rarely hits anything new we haven’t seen before from the overexposed genre. It exists in a world where superior content is available right at your fingertips, so it remains frustrating when a movie like Blurred Lines can fumble so spectacularly despite an appealing premise. I think part of my disappointment with the film stems from the fact that it comes from TLA Releasing. This set up the expectation that Blurred Lines would be an LGBT film, perhaps about unrequited love between the two boys at the center of the story. While the deep friendship remains at the forefront, this is a movie that fails to explore the inherent homoerotic subtext.
Janik (Emil von Schonfels) and Samuel (Mekyas Mulugeta) are high schoolers from two very different types of families—Janik’s deeply cares about his schooling and seems highly involved, but Samuel’s is a polar opposite, more poverty-stricken, laidback, and musical. As such, Janik is in a rebel phase while Samuel desperately craves stability. Samuel’s mother (possibly adoptive) starts making moves towards Janik, though Samuel clearly would not approve. In the wake of Janik acting on his wildest impulses (and a surprising bit of full-frontal male nudity), Janik departs for Insanbul with Samuel.
Really, the only bit of gay content comes in the form of a fantasy Janik has to be with Samuel and his mother at the same time. Putting aside the fact that this is weird on so many levels in an incest-y kind of way, Janik never acts on any of these impulses. He cuddles with Samuel when he gets sick in Istanbul, but that is the extent of things. Blurred Lines lacks eroticism, and the characters are too bland for any connection beyond the basest elements. Janik’s adoration for Samuel seems completely one-sided. That said, the acting is good and the filmmaking adequate. I just could not help wanting more than the crumbs delivered by the creative team that feels afraid to really push the envelope.
Blurred Lines comes to DVD on November 16th, 2021.