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Review: Drama ‘Oasis’ serves as little more than a Panamanian travelogue

Matthew Lynn in the movie "Oasis."
Matthew Lynn in the movie “Oasis.”
(Hollywood Independents)

Running barely more than an hour (plus closing credits), “Oasis” plays like a short film stretched to minimal feature length. But that’s only one of this potentially intriguing movie’s issues.

Writer-director-editor Jorge Ameer takes an awkward, elliptical approach to telling this dreamlike tale of two old friends, the troubled Oliver (Cesar DeFuentes) and jauntier Andrew (cinematographer Matthew Lynn), who reunite in Panama and visit a tropical resort.

Although both men are married to women, they’re clearly attracted to each other, with Oliver more seemingly smitten than Andrew, who acts cavalier and obtuse. That is, when he’s not asking for a lower back massage or strutting around naked.

The guys also spend time amid the local flora and fauna — the movie is as much lush travelogue as it is narrative feature — bickering, bantering and spouting stiff, expository dialogue. But when a hallucinogenic drug enters the picture, things take an enigmatic, unsatisfying turn.

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Ameer may be aiming for a profound look at self-hatred, denial or the perils of the gay closet, but his story and characters are too superficially etched to make an impact. Weak acting, needless voice-over and a few sound glitches further detract. Nice score, though.

Anyone expecting “Brokeback Mountain,” Central American-style, will be sorely disappointed.

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‘Oasis’

In English and Spanish with English subtitles.

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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