Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Jorge Ameer’s film “The House of Adam” is a murder mystery. No, it’s a romance. No, it’s a ghost story.
This gender bender indie – which opens today at the Tropic Cinema – defies classification. So does its director. When questioned about his gay-themed movies, he quietly describes himself as “sexual.”
If you force Jorge to describe “The House of Adam,” he’ll call it a “romantic thriller,” but you can tell he hates putting tags on his films.
Ask him yourself: Jorge will be here on Sunday and Monday to introduce his film and answer questions from the audience. (To give you some background for this Q&A, read the accompanying interview I did with Jorge.)
Also, keep in mind that tonight’s opening is a fundraiser benefiting GLCC of Key West.
As for “The House of Adam,” it’s a small-town drama set in the mountainous terrain of Big Bear, California. The scenery is spectacular – lakes and forests and log cabins. But Jorge wants you to know that bigotry lurks in even the most idyllic of places.
Here a young guy named Adam (played by Jared Caldwell) works in a local diner, his sexual orientation often challenged by neighborhood bullies. The diner’s owner (Thomas Michael Kappler) discovers that money is missing from the company’s account, so he calls in his son Anthony (John Shaw) to check up on his young employee. That undercover investigation sets the plot in motion.
You see, the son has been going to detective school on the q. t. -- and is able to solve the pilfering puzzle before he’s even on the case. And later on when he becomes a police dick (no pun intended) he’s called on to solve a grisly murder even closer to home.
When Anthony goes under cover this second time, he’s posing as a caretaker at the very house he grew up in, a way of searching for a missing body and clues to the killers’ identities.
Suspects are easy to come by, for the little community is rife with gay bashers and religious zealots. “They do bad things to other people but feel vindicated because the Bible says so,” the director explained his theme to me.
Our detective is assisted in his quest by a nice young couple who now live in the house. Look for the real estate agent who sells them Anthony’s family homestead, a cameo by none other than Jorge Ameer.
“I started off to be an actor before I became a filmmaker,” he shyly admits.
The film’s murder mystery gets resolved thanks to the intervention of the victim’s ghost. “I love dark subject matter,” says Jorge. “Like what happens after death.”
He also likes his stories to be unpredictable. And this film has a few twists and turns you don’t see coming – like who actually stole the diner’s money or an unexpected screen kiss between two guys or a brutal murder that was unplanned.
Jorge both writes and directs his own films, considering himself an auteur, in control of the entire creative process. “I conceived the film out of an article I read in The Advocate,” he says. “It was the story of a gay man’s relationship with a small-town deputy. That alone I thought would be fascinating.”
What the audience will find even more fascinating is a first-hand conversation with a dedicated filmmaker who likes to explore gay themes and the quality of the human condition. “They are an integral part of my existence,” Jorge Ameer affirms.
Welcome to his house.
[from Solares Hill]