Review

'Futuro Beach' washes up as soft-core, soulless gay fiction

'Futuro Beach' washes up as soulless, soft-core gay fiction

"Futuro Beach" begins with a German tourist drowning by Brazil's Praia do Futuro. Lifeguard Donato (Wagner Moura) breaks the bad news to the deceased's travel companion, Konrad (Clemens Schick), and propositions him for an inopportune roadside hookup.

Given the casual nature of their tryst and Konrad's imminent departure, Donato comes off as pathetically clingy. He visits Konrad in Berlin in the film's second chapter, and the pairing of a Brazilian from a military fire brigade and a German Afghanistan War veteran-turned-biker plays out like a soft-core erotic fan fiction.

Seemingly indifferent toward the catalytic drowning, the couple's emotional vital signs are detectable only during steamy sex and lovers' quarrels. If director-co-writer Karim Aïnouz has set out to depict soulless gay lives, he has more than succeeded.

A semblance of reflection finally appears in the third and final chapter as Donato is confronted by his estranged younger brother, Ayrton (Jesuíta Barbosa). Gay teens might leave a disapproving home when sexual desires awaken, but Donato appears to be well into his 30s. His desperation might have made more sense in the 1980s or 1990s, but now?

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"Futuro Beach"

MPAA rating: None 

Running time: 1 hour, 46 minutes.

Playing: Sundance Sunset, Los Angeles.

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