Bent | Chicago Reader

Bent

Writer Martin Sherman's 1996 adaptation of his own play starts off provocatively: at a shadow-filled, decadent nightclub in 1930s Berlin Clive Owen picks up a soldier while Mick Jagger performs a gorgeous torch song. The next morning the gestapo raids the apartment Owen shares with Brian Webber, and the two run for their lives, leaving the soldier behind—but they remain in Germany too long and are sent to a concentration camp. En route Owen meets Lothaire Bluteau, and it's through their relationship—a representation of the systematic persecution of gays and others (Owen's issued a Star of David in lieu of a pink triangle)—that the movie hopes to convey its weighty themes. Unfortunately the rest of the story is like a bad one-act. The subtext is so forcefully delivered that the text disappears—Owen and Bluteau's experiences and discussions are just obvious prompts to consider the nature of oppression and its effects. Directed by Sean Mathias.

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