DVD Review: Keep the Lights On

Keep The Lights On DVD STUDIO: Music Box | DIRECTOR: Ira Sachs | CAST: Thure Lindhardt, Zachary Booth, Julianne Nicholson, Souleymane Sy Savane, Miguel Del Toro, Justin Reinsilber
BLU-RAY, DVD & DIGITAL RELEASE DATE: 1/22/2013 | PRICE: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $38.94
BONUSES: commentary, featurette, deleted scenes, more
SPECS: NR | 102 min. | Drama | 1.78:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall


Writer/director Ira Sachs’ 2012 drama Keep The Lights On is an independent effort that can best be described as gay mumblecore.

Keep The Lights On movie scene

Thure Lindhardt stars in Keep The Lights On.

Erik (Thure Lindhardt) is a Scandinavian documentary filmmaker living in New York City. Now in his thirties, Erik’s bohemian lifestyle is wearing thin on his wealthy family. Trolling the phone sex lines one night, he hooks up with Paul (Zachary Booth), a lawyer who also professes to having a “girlfriend.” The two embark on a relationship that at first seems amiable and easygoing. Paul, however, descends into heavy drug use and becomes increasingly erratic, while Erik becomes more focused. As time goes by, their relationship hits a series of crises.

True to the indie style, much of the action in Keep The Lights On is talked about but not shown, especially Paul’s decline, which is related largely through his absences. There are, however, several intensely sexual scenes including one of mutual degradation that rings true in its specificity.

Within these limitations, the acting is fine by both leads (Lindhardt was nominated for a 2013 Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor), as well as Law & Order: Criminal Intent‘s Julianne Nicholson as the ubiquitous female best friend (who, of course, has Erik lined up as her back-up sperm donor)

Perhaps it’s a sign of social (if not artistic) progress that it all seems so generic.

Among the bonus features is a commentary by Sachs who alternates between discussing the making of the film and delving into his personal life, much of which he tapped into when penning the film’s screenplay (which was also nominated for a Spirit Award).

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.