It wasn't all that long ago that being gay, simply put, meant never... ever being yourself. Even a hint that you preferred a partner of the same sex would at the very least, get you bullied - but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Escalation would be the best way to describe what came next, if you were lucky. The not so lucky ones jumped straight to brutal beatings or worse. And if you think this behavior was only from peers or complete strangers, you'd be wrong. Family and friends were usually worse to deal with - because it was constant and what could you do? They were family. That fear of upsetting your parents, embarrassing your siblings, or downright being shunned by friends was real - and yes reader, being shunned by friends was much better than being downright beaten by them. It's no wonder that hiding your sexuality had been something done since the beginning of time - it just wasn't worth it. In today's world, a lot has changed - then again, so much stays the same. Although more accepted in modern society, the ghosts of past generations have still not totally moved on and it's in this realm "Two Little Boys" from writer, director, Farbod Khoshtinat takes place. Perhaps set a few years prior to now, everything I wrote above embodies the spirit of this short film. No question.
In this production, Josh is hiding out in the school locker room when two teens enter the scene. Josh looks terrified, but it looks as though he just might make it out - until as expected, he is cornered by the two other teens. It seems as though Josh had told the school principal that Tyler beat... and raped him - and now with suspension, expulsion, or worse looming, Tyler wants Josh to recant. This all seems pretty cut and dried, until we learn the true history between the two boys - and it's a long one. In this film, Josh represents the brave and Tyler, more or less, is society. How does it all play out? You'll simply have to watch the film to find out.
Now I gotta say, although not containing any ridiculously complex acts of lighting and framing, "Two Little Boys" looks pretty darn good. It's real, it's gritty, and just has a very nice flow from one edit to the next. The audio is crystal clear and really... there's nothing for me to complain about. This is a low budget film, but it's a low budget film done right. With that written however, another element that makes this film feel so much bigger is the acting itself. Trace Talbot and Asa Germann nail their respective roles so well in fact, it's almost impossible not to get caught up in the story being told. Jordan Kyle as Tyler's schoolyard pal hits all the marks as well. His character doesn't have as much to say or do, but he never feels like a fifth wheel.
The other interesting aspect of this production is all the undertones it contains. You have the surface story involving Josh and Tyler, but there's so much else going on just beneath - and it all adds up to plot depth and alternate questions that could be asked, if the viewer so chooses. The small inserts of character back story, for Tyler and Josh, work exceptionally well - but it's the little things that get you. Such as the comments from Tyler's mom - that really demonstrate the concept of the film. There may not be a dump truck full of layers, but definitely more than enough to ponder.
At the end of the day, "Two Little Boys" not only does the trick, but does so exceptionally well. It has a message, it has a purpose, and it entertains. What more could a person ask? Khoshtinat has crafted an intelligent short film that packs a punch - no question. To everyone involved - well done. A solid four and a half stars.