Title: Pit Stop
Language: English, Spanish
Director: Yen Tan
Music: Curtis Heath
Richard C. Jones
Director/writer Yen Tan, born in Malaysia, but has based his films firmly in the US queer cinema soil, PIT STOP is his third feature, surprisingly nabbed a nomination for John Cassavetes Award in 2014 Independent Spirt Awards, which on a bright side, bespeaks that it is not an usual homoerotic fare cranked out to gratifying its niche demography.
There are two paralleled stories take place in a small town called Dodge, Texas, about two gay men, Gabe (Heck) and Ernesto (DeAnda), they are strangers in the beginning and destined to meet, but Tan patiently spends three-quarters of the time deconstructing their respective relationship snags, then consummates their encounter with an intimate and romantic finish touch to imply that a brand new start is beckoning.
It is refreshing to find out that our protagonists are not stereotyped urban hipsters this time, their blue-collar background may suggest that they are more prone to homophobic hostility within their social circles, so thanks God that Tan wisely leaves enough lacunae to that front, since it is too stale and insignificant compared with what he intends to explore, the inner states which mostly reflects from their relations with the closest ones.
Gabe is a construction work contractor, he was married before, and is recently dumped by his partner, a closeted family man, who backtracks on their decision to start a new life together. Gabe is still in good term with his ex-wife Shannon (Seimetz), and after the break-up he decides to raise their 6-year-old daughter together. Both him and Shannon need to move forward, but it is easier said than done, Shannon wants to go back to the familiar more-than-friends status, but the reality proves that it is a convenient option but not a sensible one.
Ernesto, a Mexican immigrant, is in another paradox, he breaks up with his young boyfriend Luis (Maduro) but the latter still lives in his apartment, he asserts to move out but procrastinates. Meanwhile Ernesto is taking care of another ex, who is unconscious in a coma, and has no one else. So, for Ernesto, it is time to clear his mind and stop dithering about responsibilities which overstay their welcome, just because he has a kind heart.
Gabe has a dog and Ernesto has a cat, through their interactions with pets, their personalities are artfully displayed, the entire film is meandering in an unhurried pace, and renders a minute dedication to every set piece without any whiff of pretentiousness and self-indulgence. The two leads are pretty awesome in their inward struggle, Bill Heck, is particularly touching in bringing about Gabe’s frame of mind.
The titular pit stop, is a gas station where both Gabe and Ernesto constantly stop by but never linger longer enough to be acquainted with, that is why their eventual meet is so rewarding because audience has been watching closely to those two lonely souls fumble through their disoriented life and try to get on the right orbit. To sum up, PIT STOP is an unostentatiously heart-warming romance with both sincerity and affection, it is definitely worth your time.