First-time Minneapolis writer-director Eric Mueller's "World and Time Enough" is a modest, tender, gay love story told with a keen sense of what it must be like to be homosexual in Middle America.
Mueller has written good parts for his lead actors and received from them focused, impassioned portrayals that sustain the film to a satisfying conclusion. "World and Time Enough" is a worthy example of unpretentious regional filmmaking, financed entirely by grants and fellowships.
Mark (Matt Guidry), whose HIV-positive status fires his work as an activist-artist, constantly putting up protest banners and temporary assemblages, and Joey (Gregory G. Giles) cope with Mark's diagnosis pretty well. What gets them down are their parental relations. As the film opens, Mark has gathered up the nerve to call his estranged, widowed father whereas Joey, suffering from a brutal and total rejection from his adoptive father, commences trying to find his birth parents.
The lovers live in a whimsically decorated loft, and Mark supports himself as a temp, never missing an opportunity to subvert the corporate culture. Joey is a garbage collector, spearing detritus in parks and along roads. The men balance each other in temperament: Mark is fiery while Joey is sweet-natured. You have to wonder why Joey doesn't set his sights higher professionally, but he does take a childlike joy in finding kitschy treasure amid the trash he collects.
Like many debut features, "World and Time Enough" gets better as it goes along, forsaking jauntiness for a more effective seriousness. You wish that Mueller had jettisoned his use of a narrator--a redundant, tedious device since the character is tiresomely gossipy and unfunny as well as a distraction, needlessly interrupting the ongoing momentum of the narrative. Mueller may have come to this opinion himself because he cuts to the narrator less and less as the film progresses. On the plus side is Joey's warm, mutually supportive relationship with his sister, well-played by Bernadette Sullivan.
* Unrated. Times guidelines: The film has some strong language, no sex or nudity; suitable for teens.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
'World and Time Enough'
Matt Guidry: Mark
Gregory G. Giles: Joey
Bernadette Sullivan: Marie
Kraig Swartz: David
A Strand release of a 1 in 10 production. Writer-director Eric Mueller. Producers Julie Hartley, Andrew Peterson. Cinematographer Kyle Bergersen. Editor Laura Stokes. Costumes Elizabeth Wheat. Music Eugene Huddleston. Production designer Heather McElhatton. Set decorator Jennie Harris. Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes.
* Exclusively at the Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 848-3500.