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Review: Old lovers reconnect in sexy drama ‘Lazy Eye’

Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, left, and Aaron Costa Ganis in the movie "Lazy Eye."
(Breaking Glass Pictures)

An L.A. graphic designer seeks a respite and reconnects with an old flame in Joshua Tree in writer/director Tim Kirkman’s sexy and emotional “Lazy Eye.” Dean (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe), burned out on the mundanity of his job, drives out to the desert to clear his head and invites along a recently resurfaced old lover, Alex (Aaron Costa Ganis).

The two reconnect easily and instantly, and the men are reminded of who they were, when they were in love 15 years earlier. But old secrets and revelations are slowly uncovered in the desert night air.

Dean and Alex share a relaxed intimacy in this oasis, siloed away from the pressures and realities of everyday life, talking, catching up and philosophizing in the manner of Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise.” The vacuum of Joshua Tree allows them to explore their newly rekindled connection, consequences be damned.

Kirkman and cinematographer Gabe Mayhan capture the sun-dappled beauty of the landscape, and the central performances both anchor and lift the film. The bookish but closed-off Dean bumps up against the fiery charisma and honesty of Alex. The always memorable Michaela Watkins turns up in an all-too-short role as Dean’s buddy.

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A couple of flashbacks color in their history but feel unnecessary, as the script and actors ably express the complicated history between the two men. The weekend in the desert is all that is needed to bring to life this romantic drama about revisiting the roads not taken.

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‘Lazy Eye’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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