Tomcat

Review by David Jenkins @daveyjenkins

Directed by

Händl Klaus

Starring

Lukas Turtur Philipp Hochmair Toni

Anticipation.

Ooh, a film for cat lovers? Yes please!

Enjoyment.

Cat lovers – heed our words and approach with caution.

In Retrospect.

An interesting, small-scale relationship drama that searches for hope in high tragedy.

This icy Austrian relationship drama ponders how much of a battering love can take before it all falls apart.

You think you know someone really well, and then they just go and spoil everything, and for no discernible reason. Andreas (Lukas Turtur) and Stefan (Philipp Hochmair) are well and truly loved-up. They spend their days prancing around naked in their giant Viennese stack. They have rhythmic sex to jazz music, host charming garden parties and wear tight-fitting pastel clothing.

But one key fixture in their live that allows them to keep this idyllic harmony in balance is the presence of their lovely cat, Moses. He acts as furry respite from all the tactile loving – another entity on whom to channel all that romantic energy.

This couple are so wrapped up in one another’s lives that they even work in the same place – Stefan is an accomplished flugelhornist in a local orchestra, while Andreas works there as an organiser. But then, tragedy strikes. Well, tragedy is the wrong word for it, as Stefan does something so completely stupid and alienating, that everything the couple took for granted crumbles to shit in an instant. It’s a very sudden and extremely brutal moment which is so nasty that it could have you marching for the exits. Suffice to say, naked jazz prancing is off the menu.

Händl Klaus’s close-quarters relationship study is maybe not meant to be taken too literally, as if you think too much second guessing the psychological motivations, it all begins to fray at the seams. But Tomcat is a film that wonders how much damage a close relation can take before it is forced to end. As much as Andreas tries, he is unable to just forgive and forget, even when Stefan attempts to remind him of the good times and obviously feels shitty for his knee-jerk indiscretion.

The first half is something of a drag as it’s never that exciting or interesting to watch a couple of happy, rich gadabouts being happy, rich gadabouts. Their essential “goodness” is perhaps a tad overplayed. But Klaus is playing a longer game, as when the dramatic shift occurs, we can see all that they’ve thrown away. It takes some intriguing turns in the second half, especially when fate seems to step in and violently even up the odds.

It is very hard to accept that Andreas would even consider giving Stefan a second chance, but Klaus makes a convincing case for the fact that love works in mysterious ways.

Published 11 May 2017

Tags: Queer Cinema

Anticipation.

Ooh, a film for cat lovers? Yes please!

Enjoyment.

Cat lovers – heed our words and approach with caution.

In Retrospect.

An interesting, small-scale relationship drama that searches for hope in high tragedy.

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