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Reviews: Film and Book reviews

Tue 7 Aug, 2012
By Robert Ingham

North Sea Texas is a slow-burning gem of a movie

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North Sea Texas - film review

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North Sea Texas is a sweet, charming and captivating film set in Belgium about the trials and tribulations of first love over a period of ten years.

Pim is an eight year-old boy who likes to escape into a world of make-believe using his mother’s old Beauty Queen Pageant regalia. When caught by his mum, Yvette, he runs off and is befriended by a local shop owner and her two children, Gino and Sabrina. Fast-forward six years and it becomes clear that the friendship between cute and innocent Pim (understatedly played by Jelle Florizoone) and the irrepressibly lithe Gino (handsome Mathias Vergels) has developed into something more, with Pim falling head over heels in love with Gino.

However Gino is not all he appears to be and we are set for four years of heartache and bitterness from all angles.

This movie, with subtitles, is a lovely tale of a young boy’s transition into adulthood, and the attention to this transition is beautiful, with several moments being instantly recognisable and empathetical. The Director (Bavo Defurne, who also co-wrote from Andre Sollie’s novel) captures the essence of Pim’s loneliness perfectly, with the audience sympathising with him as we watch his mother, who used to be a star in her younger days, bounce from lover to lover and never truly being there for Pim as a mum should be, especially when nomad Zoltan (David Arquette look-a-like Thomas Coumans) strolls back into town. The writers and director should be applauded for getting these scenes so accurate.

Yet the film is let down on a few occasions by both the writing and directing. Whilst the time-frame in the first half is easy to follow, with Pim ageing from eight to fourteen in one scene, the second half lacks cohesion as we never fully understand there’s been a shift in time until someone mentions his age. Unfortunately, this makes the film feel confusing and rushed.

Shot with confidence, Bavo plays with light and shade, but every now and then an exchange of gifts is lost and we’re not entirely sure what’s been handed over. A close-up would solve this issue but instead it becomes frustrating.

The ending is a little disappointing too. The power of your first love can never be underestimated but the film ends, without spoiling it for any readers, with a simper rather than a bang. True romantics will love it but others will feel a little cheated.

However, North Sea Texas is a slow-burning gem of a movie, full of unrequited love, a few flashes of naked flesh and enough titillating scenes to keep most audiences happy.

North Sea Texas is out now on DVD from Peccadillo Pictures.


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