Pub date March 26, 2008
SectionFilm Review

REVIEW To a certain extent, almost all surfing flicks carry undercurrents of homoeroticism — but rarely do those vibes take center stage. With Shelter, that’s not the case. Starring Trevor Wright (a TV vet making his big-screen debut) and Brad Rowe (Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss), the movie is about two young surfer dudes whose practice of spending endless hours together either half-naked in the water or bonding over neverending six-packs of beer leads to a passionate love affair. So don’t expect to see any radical wave-riding here. Instead, you should count on a sweet and tender rendering of innocent flirtation (and the awkwardness, playfulness, and silliness that come with it), and of the complex deeper emotional phases that a person falling in love goes through. Although Shelter doesn’t avoid being a bit sappy every now and then — and at times the acting feels a bit forced — the truly amazing chemistry between the two protagonists overshadows many of the film’s imperfections. The first movie to be produced under the here! Films Independent Film Initiative (which helps thematically edgy and thus noncommercial projects with all aspects of production), Shelter also marks director Jonah Markowitz’s first attempt at feature filmmaking. If you missed it at Frameline last summer, here’s a chance to make amends.

SHELTER opens Fri/28 in San Francisco.