Film Review: JACKIE BOY (Canada 2015) ***1/2

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jackie_boyA self-destructive womanizer falls for a girl with mysterious intentions.

Director: Cody Campanale
Writer: Cody Campanale
Stars: Alino Giraldi, Shannon Coulter, Edward Charette

Review by Gilbert Seah

As far as nasty films go, JACKIE BOY is arguably the nastiest screened this year. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Ottawa based writer/director Cody Campanale has nailed a gritty, disturbing yet absorbing tale of self-destructive males on the sexual prowl.

The film’s lead character is Jack (Alino Giraldi) nicknamed by his close friends as Jackie Boy. The film never reveals the race of the three, though they look East Indian, but more likely Italian from the name of the actors portraying them. When the film opens Jack has picked up a girl at a party and they make out, doing drugs and drink. He takes her home and shoots lots of nude shots of her using his cellular. When she is sleeping, he posts them on twitter under #meow (obviously for pussy). The film has a contemporary edge, with whatever is happening on screen – the disco, pots and pans music, the drugs, the social media and the liberal decadence. But Jackie’s mean deed will come back to haunt him later in the story.

But Jackie eventually meets Jasmine (Shannon Coultier), a mysterious woman who cock teases Jack to no end. She also causes a rift between him and his best friends Cal (Edward Charette) and Tony (Andrew Di Rosa).

Campanale’s film deserves credit in many departments. For a sexual predator, director Campanale has achieved the tough task of getting the audience to root for him. This is accomplished in several ways. For one, he is shown to be kind to his pet cat, slapping his friend Cal who has shot the cat with a paintball and cleaning it gently after. He has a sick father who he visits and looks after in hospital. But mostly, Campanale shows that his friends are worse than him. Cal, though cleans Jack up after a night vomitting from drink and drugs, assaults Jasmine while Tony is a no-good fat husband who fools his wife to think that he is on a diet to lose weight as well as believing him to be looking for work. Jackie is also shown to be turning into a more responsible male after falling for Jasmine. When Jackie finally gets what is due to him from his past acts, the audience actually sympathizes with his character. But the film never shows what Jackie or Cal do for work or their background how they have became buddies.

Alino Giraldi proves to be an actor capable of carrying an entire movie. He is not the sexiest person alive, but the camera knows how to create that needed sexiness by focusing on his tattoo, clothes and hunky build. The camera also does not shy from showing particularly the male genitals.

JACKIE BOY ends up a film one would appreciate more than one would imagine. It is well shot, written (though with sparse dialogue), directed and acted and is an absorbing (though one can hardly call it entertaining) watch from beginning to end.



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