North Sea Texas (Noordzee, Texas) (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner05/04/2012

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Beautifully directed, emotionally engaging coming-of-age drama with a sharp script, a strong sense of time and place and terrific performances from its entire cast.

What's it all about?
Directed by Bavo Defume, North Sea Texas (Noordzee, Texas, original title fans) is based on a novel by Andre Sollie and stars Jelle Florizoone as Pim, an artistic 15 year old boy who lives in a 1960s Belgian coastal town with his accordion-playing, bar-cruising mother Yvette (Eva Van der Gucht). As a younger boy (played by Ben Van den Heuvel), Pim frequently dressed in his mother's clothes and make-up, but as his 15th birthday approaches, Pim finds his attentions drawn elsewhere and develops an intense crush on his best friend Gino (Mathias Vergel), drawing him in private and collecting a box of fetishised objects that he associates with their relationship.

When the pair begin exploring their sexuality together, Pim is overjoyed as their motorbike rides and nights spent camping in the dunes take on a whole new meaning. Meanwhile, Gino's little sister Sabrina (Nina Marie Kortekaas) is nursing her own crush on Pim and there's heartbreak in store when Gino starts spending time with a French girl he meets in Dunkirk.

The Good
Jelle Florizoone is superb as Pim, conveying a powerful sense of longing and obsession with very little dialogue. Vergel is equally good as Gino while Kortekaas is heartbreaking as Sabrina and there's strong support from Van der Gucht, Luk Wynns (as Yvette's slobby suitor Etienne) and Thomas Coumans as her returning carnival-working lodger Zoltan, to whom Pim transfers his affections after things go wrong with Gino.

The film is beautifully shot courtesy of cinematographer Anton Mertens, who bathes everything in a nostalgia-tinged, almost dream-like yellow light. Defume and Mertens also evoke a strong sense of time and place, particularly in their use of the various town and beach locations.

The Great
Defume's focus on Pim's fetishisation of objects is effective, because it crystallises the intensity and the importance of tiny moments; this also leads to some great scenes, such as Pim swapping over their identical knives while Gino sleeps, so that they will secretly have something belonging to each other. Defume also has a strong eye for painfully familiar adolescent experiences and the film is packed full of recognisable scenes, such as when Pim is pretending to listen to Sabrina but jumps up as soon as he hears the sound of Gino's motorcycle outside.

It's also worth noting that the film commendably avoids some of the clichés associated with gay coming-of-age drama, though to say any more would be to rob the film of its emotional impact.

Worth seeing?
Impressively directed, beautifully shot and emotionally engaging, North Sea Texas is a sensitive, superbly written coming-of-age drama that's well worth seeking out. Recommended.

Film Trailer

North Sea Texas (Noordzee, Texas) (15)
Be the first to review North Sea Texas (Noordzee, Texas)...
image
01 20,000 Days on Earth (15)

Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, Warren Ellis, Ray Winsto...

image
02 Guardians of the Galaxy (tbc)

Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel

image
03 I Am Divine (15)

Ricki Lake, John Waters, Divine

image
04 Pudsey The Dog: The Movie (U)

David Walliams, Olivia Colman

image
05 Love Me Till Monday (15)

Georgia Maguire, Sarah-Jayne Butler, Chris Leveaux...

Content updated: 28/07/2014 17:22

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Love Me Till Monday (15)

Georgia Maguire stars as a young woman disillusioned with the new world of work and the lack of Mr Right in her life.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.