Review: Bruno & Earlene Go To Vegas

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

The QFlix Film Festival recently graced Philadelphia film buffs with an offering of many different genre's of film. There were a vast range of films to select from that included comedies, documentaries and dramas all told from the queer perspective. One of the dramas being showcased was the 2013 Simon Savory directed Bruno & Earlene Go To Vegas. Before attending the 3pm show I checked out the trailer online. There were quick flashes of the tough as nails Earlene and her companion Bruno walking through crowds, sharing a beverage while sitting on a set of swings on the beach and riding in a dust covered Jeep through the Nevada desert. The trailer piques the watchers curiosity into finding out how these two came into each others lives and what adventures they would find along the way of their journey.

As the film opens the voice of an off-screen female radio announcer shares a quote with her listeners;

"I'm going to say something to you I hear everyday; I need a change"

She pauses then informs her audience "Change finds you"

Those words are prophetic as both Bruno and Earlene experience multiple changes and experiences during their journey, which starts with a frantic Earlene (Ashleigh Sumner) quickly packing a bag and bolting out through the front door of her house. Moments later she meets the handsome Bruno (Miles Szanto) skateboarding near the beach. The two of them bond over a paper bag clad bottle of booze for the rest of the night (as referenced in the trailer), eventually ending their evening by sleeping in the same bed at Bruno's apartment.

However, the next day, it's revealed that the place they've both awoken in is not Bruno's apartment at all. They're both startled when the homeowner arrives unannounced, causing the two of them to make their escape. After a brief explanation of how Bruno was able to gain access into the previous domicile the two of them end up at a motel for the night, but eventually the two of them part ways when Bruno apologizes before leaving Earlene at the motel in his friend’s convertible.

This does not sit well with Earlene though. Determined to make sure her new friend is fine after leaving the motel so abruptly Earlene hops into her Jeep and follows the convertible. Her concern leads her to the outside of a beautiful mansion where the convertible is parked with no signs of either Bruno or the driver.

It was at this moment that both Earlene and the audience discover just how troubled Bruno really is.

After a confusing scene where Earlene rescues Bruno from a very creepy situation inside of the mansion the two, once again, escape to their next destination. From there the movie continues with its twists and turns. Also the audience is introduced to a barrage of interesting characters like the hot blond twink that ditches his girlfriend to join Bruno and Earlene on their journey, the two Scottish former exotic dancers and the transgendered sheriff of a town for outcasts in the middle of the desert.

Bruno & Earlene is beautifully shot and the music score is hauntingly apropos. Sumner’s Earlene becomes engaging to watch in moments of anger and rage, but less dynamic when trying to show a softer side. In contrast to Sumner’s up and down portrayal of Earlene Szanto’s Bruno is

one-dimensional. He’s either sad, or misunderstood, or sad and misunderstood.

His performance is like eating at a buffet with only bologna and bread. There’s no variety.

Overall, this movie seemed like it was trying too hard to be deeper than it actually was. Some scenes lacked depth, others added nothing to the movement of the story and some of the characters felt like they were thrown in just to provide both Bruno and Earlene with more dialogue..

Bruno & Earlene Go To Vegas is a movie that some will appreciate for its alleged resemblance to Thelma & Louise, but other than two long haired individuals scouring the desert for an escape from a lonely existence that’s where the similarities end.

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