(Movie Review)

by C. J. Kurkowski


What happens when a beautiful but lonely gay ex-cop from small-town America moves to West Hollywood to find inner peace with his lifestyle? Drama, drama, and more drama.


ďCircuitĒ is Dirk Shaferís (writer and director) and Greg Hintonís (co-writer) dark tale of a gay manís descent into the gay communityís decadent underbelly.


The story begins when John (Jonathon Wade Drahos) decides to move to West Hollywood in order to expand and enhance his gay lifestyle. The moment John drives into West Hollywood and parks his car at his friend Gillís house (Brian Lane Green) the soap opera begins. The sub plot of this movie starts with Gill and his lover, Tad (Daniel Kucan) breaking up. With-in a week of the break up, Tad moves his new lover (who is a club deejay for the circuit parties in Los Angeles) into Gillís house.


After John finds a place to live and settles down, the loneliness of moving to a new place and not knowing anyone creeps in. The party starts for John after he is introduced to the gay communityís high society crowd. Though he declines every opportunity to take any of the drugs at the party, John begins to get a morbid curiosity of what the drugs can do for him.


After hanging out a few times with his new friend, Hector (Andre Khabbazi), a high society hustler, John begins to feel that drugs may be able to enhance his already happy mood and it could be just the thing to celebrate his new open lifestyle. After all, everyone that is beautiful, glamorous, and cool is doing it. Why not succumb to peer pressure. John takes his first bump of K while hanging out with Hector in a nightclub. A few hours later John is having glorious and exhilarating anonymous sex with someone that could care less about the experience and John once itís over. But for John, experiencing enhanced sex while on drugs is something he doesnít want to soon forget. 


As John slips deeper and deeper into the circuit lifestyle all the tell tale signs of drug addiction and abuse takes effect. Even an old high school friend, Nina (Kiersten Warren), canít help bring him out of his downward spiral. Only until the death of his friend, Hector; at a circuit party, does John realize that the circuit party lifestyle ironically must come to an end eventually.


Trying to weave together Dirk Shaferís plots and subplots through out the movie tended to get a little confusing at first. More than anything I felt that Mr. Shafer was trying too hard to make sure that all the characters intertwined in one way or another.


The characters had a lot of fluff to them and little depth. Like the hustler, Hector, who, towards the end of the movie, showed that he could actually love someone. But through out the movie all he cared about was his body, money, and drugs. Tad is another character who tried to capture what circuit life was all about in a documentary film he was trying to create but missed out on documenting his own life and his own shortfalls.


Itís almost as if the director wanted us to feel as if we were on drugs like the characters were. Make us feel no sympathy towards the characters. Enhance our understanding of what this dark side of the gay community is all about.


Overall, the movie does take us on a journey into the lives of narcissistic, arrogant, and self-serving people looking for some kind of happiness. Even though the characters are not as developed as we would like, the movie does give the audience a sense that there is deep-rooted message on this slice of life in the gay community. Whether we agree or disagree on the blatant drug use that is wreaking havoc in our community I believe the director just wanted to open our eyes a little more on what is going on around us. No matter how it has been portrayed, the message has been clearly delivered.

C. J. Kurkowski is a freelance writer living in the Chicago area. He has published poetry, and non-fiction pieces for 256 Shades of Grey, The Statesman, OUT in Chicago, and NOTA.

Director: Dirk Shafer

Producer: Steven J. Wolfe, Michael J. Roth

Screenwriter: Gregory Hinton, Dirk Shafer

Stars: Jonathan Wade Drahos, Andre Khabazzi, Kiersten Warren, Brian Lane Green, Daniel Kukan, Jim J. Bullock, Paul Lekakis, William Katt, Nancy Allen

MPAA Rating: NR

Year of Release: 2001

Circuit Web Site:

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