Film and TV

Denver Film Festival 2018 Weekend One Review: Flat Earth Mayhem!

A scene from the documentary Behind the Curve.
A scene from the documentary Behind the Curve. Denver Film Festival via YouTube
The day after the left-field success of its opening night on Halloween, the 2018 Denver Film Festival truly got rolling, with a veritable avalanche of celluloid offerings that were both anticipated and unknown screening at venues such as the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, the Sie FilmCenter and the UA Pavilions.

Counting The Favourite, which got the red-carpet treatment at the Ellie on October 31, I've caught nine flicks thus far and experienced a wide range of cinematic awe and awkwardness — with the latter exemplified by a Q&A for Behind the Curve, a documentary about the flat-Earth movement, that co-starred a guest whose participation appeared to surprise even the other attendees: a true believer from Colorado who's spotlighted in the film.

And that's not to mention the best offering I've seen thus far — and it's one you'll still be able to catch.

Here's the rundown:

click to enlarge
Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges in Boy Erased.
Denver Film Festival via YouTube
Boy Erased
Thursday, November 1
Sie FilmCenter

DFF scheduled two unspoolings of Boy Erased at the Sie FilmCenter on November 1, and both were packed — an indication of the interest in the adaptation of writer Garrard Conley's memoir about being subjected to gay conversion therapy by his father, a Baptist preacher played by Russell Crowe, and his acquiescent (at first, anyway) wife, portrayed by Nicole Kidman. But while writer/director Joel Edgerton, who also plays lead "therapist" Victor Sykes, is to be commended for not succumbing to the temptation of simplistic demonization (except in regard to a Sykes assistant whom the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea turns into the walking/talking representation of ’roid rage), his muted approach prevents the material from having the emotional impact that would seem to flow naturally from the material. Lucas Hedges, who embodies Conley (for some reason, his name has been changed to Jared), gives a beautifully nuanced performance that eschews showy histrionics for something deeper and more true. But in the end, Boy Erased is too polite for its own good.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts