Though Judas Kiss is hokey in some spots and lacks a clear execution of it’s plot in others, the acting of film’s leads helps keep it from being a gay film to be passed over.
Charlie David stars as Zach, a washed-up thirty-something filmmaker. He’s been to rehab– presumably for alcoholism–gets rejected by guys who aren’t as good looking as him; and is in a general funk over the state of his life. Zach travels back to his alma matter to judge a student film contest. There he meets, and has sex with, student Danny Reyes, played by Richard Harmon, who has suspicious similarities to Zach; including, the same name (before Zach decided to change it), same student film and same background.
This main plot point of Judas Kiss is its most confusing and weakest.
Did Zach time travel? Is Danny just a student with striking similarities to Zach’s own life? Its not that clear if Zach is given the chance to change his own life or change someone else’s who is just like him. The director tries to lead us there with some cheesey golden glow special effect that comes over the characters at certain points, but this is more of a distraction that takes you out of these important moments rather than helping to understand what is going on. Other than this aura, our only other clue that something is amis is Zach’s outrage upon first learning Danny’s name.
It’s here where the acting is its weakest. Carlie David as Zach immediately goes balistic; saying Danny couldn’t possibly be who is says he is. It’s a little overdone for the small amount of information that Zach and the audience has. There should have been more of a slow burn to this plot point to make it slightly more believeable. Zach should have at least learned more details about Danny before becoming so overenraged, so that we, the audience, come to the revelation together with Zach.
Fortunately, this bit of overacting in a weak scene doesn’t take away too much from the rest of the movie. Once the plot gets going, David, and the rest of the cast seem to have a good grasp of their characters and their emotions. Richard Harmon’s final scene with his father is amazingly intense. It will stick with you long after the film’s end.
The ending of Judas Kiss, again, left me dissapointed. I thought that the film was going to go one of two ways. Either Zach’s life would be changed completely for the better or it would be left up to the viewer to determine what happens after the credits roll. Instead, we are left with a half answer. It’s neither ambiguous enough to leave it to our imagination or complete enough to leave us really satisfied.