“Everything is Free”
“True Love Conquers All”?
Ivan (writer-director Brian Jordan Alvarez) is an American painter living in Columbia who falls for Cole (Morgan Krantz), his best friend’s younger brother. Though not gay himself, Cole returns his advances, but will older brother Christian (Peter Vack) be ok with that?
In the years after art school, gay American painter Ivan (writer-director Brian Jordan Alvarez) has relocated to a coastal town in Colombia to focus on his craft. After some time apart, his straight best friend and former roommate, Christian (Peter Vack), comes to visit, bringing his younger brother, Cole (Morgan Krantz), along. Before long, Ivan and Cole (who generally identifies as straight) start secretly sleeping together. When Christian finds out, difficult and surprising emotions come to the fore and not just for the three men but also for the diverse circle of fellow American expats and tourists around them.
The plot line is something so many of us can relate to (falling in love with one of your straight friends). It seems that Ivan has had a habit of doing this, has finally gotten in too deep which he would come to regret.
Cole makes the first move but he very hesitantly draws out his flirtation with Ivan who very quickly is falling for him. When they finally get physical with each other it’s clear that the passion between them is mutual. During the day when they all hang out together with the two girls they met when they first arrived, Cole falls back into the role of a girl-crazy young man that is expected of him, especially by his overprotective brother. It is when Christian discovers what the two men have been doing on the downlow, he goes loses it. When Ivan confronts Cole he retracts everything that has happened between them insisting that he is not gay and that he was only experimenting.
The cast is talented but “Everything is Free” has a simple plot line, that somehow it messes up. There are long, mostly silent shots of Alvarez, wandering the Colombian beaches or staring quizzically into the camera. One of the major flaws is the self-indulgence of its creator and star. It’s a little ridiculous how much time is spent slowly zooming in and panning out of Alvarez’s chiseled body..
The love story has no plot and does nothing to make an audience care about any of its characters. A quick hookup turns into a torrid love affair with no actual conversations taking place. Friendships are made almost instantly and discarded just as quickly. The audience is given little and less in way of character development. We know nothing about these characters or why we should care about them. Although Alvarez seems to try and talk about queerbaiting and gaslighting by straight men, the plot is simply not given time to develop, and the characters lack depth.