One of our listeners Kenneth wrote in with a really thoughtful and interesting review of Boys in the Trees so we decided to feature it here to share it with all of you! Thanks for listening and for sharing Kenneth!
First of all, Great soundtrack, at least for me but I guess part of me never really left the 90’s. Very appropriate that they used Rammstein in the scene where they’re riding around on their bicycles with the fireworks given the bands fondness for pyrotechnics.
As for the film itself, I agree with Irene in that it doesn’t come off as an overt horror film per se but it is definitely weird to the part of being subtly creepy. This is especially true in the scene where the man in white hosts the Day of the Dead ceremony. It certainly wasn’t scary and wasn’t really even creepy but for me it was one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. Something about it just grabbed me. I like to think they chose a Day of the Dead ceremony because the holiday is about remembering family and friends who have passed on, and I saw it as almost like a subtle clue to Corey that although he isn’t actually aware of it yet, his old friend Jonah has actually already passed on.
I definitely got the vibe that Jango was gay in a “He doth protest too much” kind of way and that’s why he (metaphorically) rides Jonah so hard about his perceived sexuality. I think Jango could have grown up to be the kind of guy who makes a fraternity pledge go down on him but tells him “There ain’t nothing gay about getting your dick sucked! You’re the one that’s gay for sucking my dick!” and says things like “Gays are disgusting! Anyway, let’s go paddle some pledges!” Denial is a powerful force.
All in all, I like the way the film starts out pretty reality based and then gradually starts to unravel into the surreal. However, I feel like this movie, even with its surrealism and its uncomfortable emotional situations, is really about growing up, which I think for most of us was in itself is an uncomfortable and surreal experience.