ICE MEN: 2004 GAY Interest 108 min
Cast: Brandy Ledford, David Hewlett, Greg Spottiswood, Ian Tracey, James Thomas, Martin Cummins
Director: Thom Best
Screenwriter: Michael MacLennan
Five buddies gather in a rustic cabin for a winter weekend, but all the rough weather is inside. Sexual tensions and secrets rebound off the walls of this intense first film from "QAF" cinematographer Thom Best.
It's "just the guys" when Vaughn (Martin Cummins) invites his childhood best friends up to the family cabin for a masculine winter weekend. As they break out the cards and plan the next day's hunting trip, it becomes obvious that time and separation have altered the four men. New rivalries and sexual tension combine with old secrets to upset their cozy routines. The arrival of unexpected guests produces tumultuous drama, and further threatens the survival of these long-treasured friendships.
This terrific ensemble drama features a hot cast, gorgeous cinematography, and a taut script from Queer as Folk writer Michael MacLennan.
There's lots of gratuitous nudity in gay films, but in this film, it's the characters that are the most naked. But it’s not their bodies that are exposed, it’s their emotions. In this raw and riveting story, uptight yuppie Vaughn (the granite-jawed Martin Cummings) has invited four childhood buddies to his winter cabin: the sensitive photographer John, the chiseled fitness instructor Steve, and wannabe singer Bryan (sporting a cool “Tarantino” vibe). Completing the circle is the dark, brooding Trevor, Vaughn’s uninvited black sheep brother. While the air outside is thick with snow (bitingly captured in brilliant camera work), the air inside is thick with tensions: broken hearts, sibling rivalry, childhood fears, financial desperation, and, yes, sexual desire.
Everything explodes when Vaughn’s ex-girlfriend suddenly appears to “get some things” -- including a “quickie” that’s not from Vaughn! The directorial debut of “Queer as Folk’s cinematographer, The Ice Men is ensemble acting at its best, as the cast hurls out dialogue with the rage and realism of early Mamet. There’s also a whiff of that other “Iceman”; with a few bad breaks, all these guys could “cometh” to Eugene O’Neill’s sad saloon. But you hope not; for all their faults, your heart will melt for these Ice Men – even without the bare buns. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~-- Andrew Preis