What a heterosexual woman felt (or didn't) during Tom of Finland
Considering I'm a very emotional person, and my in-built glory complex means that I well-up whenever the hero of a story finds success from their previously-not-appreciated talent, I should have felt a lot more during Tom of Finland
The film started off with some absolutely stunning shots. A lot of space was left in the frame, forming visually alluring images with action well choreographed into the four edges of the screen - most memorably about twenty naked men running onto the ice. Cuts were used creatively allowing certain shots to compliment one another. A pacy edit sequence used an increasingly claustrophobic soundtrack of helicopters and bombs alongside visuals of war, juxtaposed with images of a happier, peaceful time which made for some dreamlike cinema. However, the pacing and the interesting visuals do not last throughout the film.
Inevitably it could not have lasted, however, Tom of Finland severely plateaus mid-tale. There were significant events going on in the story that I should’ve cared about, but I simply did not. Liberation was upon us and I didn’t feel it!
Reactions from characters to major events were sometimes non-existent. For example, when homosexuals got caught and sent to centres to be ‘cured’, the tone and emotional wave of the film did not seem to budge whatsoever.
A lack of passion extends to the sexual encounters I saw between the men.
As a heterosexual woman, I needed ways to relate to these characters and that could’ve been one. This combined with the continuous and communal acceptance of polygamy, even when characters found themselves in very deep, caring relationships, blocked me from being able to relate. Though I am not suggesting that this is an untruthful trait of male-driven relationships.
What is extremely noticeable in the film, is the very jarring locations of conservative Europe and modernised America. Though strange to watch, it intentionally jolts the viewer and it made me think about some important parallels across the world today. One comparison that sprang to mind was England and Russia. This film is very important for highlighting how barbaric and outdated certain systems are. By putting the viewer in the shoes of a country that is now very liberal, it does a good job at hitting you with the shock that homosexuals across the globe do not enjoy the same rights today.
This film should be praised for many examples of good filmmaking; some well-thought-out cinematography, creative editing and consistently good acting. It does highlight an important and topical issue, however it fails to take the viewer (at least a heterosexual woman) on an emotional journey.
There was a brilliant, ridiculous moment at the end involving a rabbit that did start to pull on my heart strings, however, considering the context of the film, they should’ve yanked them.