Lonesome (2023) Film Review |

Lonesome still

There’s a character’s journey in Craig Boreham’s Lonesome that can’t be described as linear or traditional. Boreham has made sure to stay out of the narrative stream with his film and in some parts it works as a compelling drama about chaos, whereas in others, Lonesome feels like a confusing statement about the effects of rejection in a young man whose road is drawn as he goes across it. In any case, as the third act is resolved, Casey may have found his place in the middle of a chaotic representation of his fate. Is that enough for us to accept the film? 

The answer is maybe. It’s not that Lonesome is hard to watch but it’s a weird case of a slow burn drama with a fixed stance that’s simply hard to believe. Yes, Casey’s story is far-fetched, but at least Boreham gives it some resolution, even if it’s a little bit too traumatic.

Lonesome is a divisive drama about Casey, a young cowboy trying to overcome a rejection by his father and the small town he was born in. He’s a young gay cowboy and his only direction is towards the big city where he can be himself. Boreham’s representation of a “coming of age” version of a story is cryptic and graphic. This is a small part of Casey’s journey as he finds love in the middle of disaster. Tranquility is deceitful because he trusts too much in Tib, another man whose life seems to be also chaotic. 

Perhaps, I’m spoiling the film, but this doesn’t seem to be a problem with Boreham’s film. The structure isn’t traditional. You will guess where the film goes. Casey and Tib live through a few things, and you can feel there’s too much difference between them. The ship will sail at some point and Casey will find himself again in disarray. The light at the end of a tunnel is there, and Tib’s presence is almost irrelevant if it means Casey can find comfort.

Again, Lonesome is far from a traditional film. This is a character study about Casey, a young cowboy whose social performance depends solely on how much he can give. He believes his only channel is sex, but he doesn’t get much out of it when it doesn’t involve an emotional consequence. Not even with Tib there’s a feeling of fulfillment all the time. His glance towards the outcome is full of loneliness and sadness. 

Josh Lavery as Casey is the main reason why the film works. The young performer plays a difficult character whose intention is only transmitted in silence and what appears to be a feeling of mistrust and disbelief. Lavery always guarantees a sense of humanity when Casey faces the good and the bad, even when the good is improbable and the bad is the surefire destination. It’s not that he’s naive. It’s just that he needs to believe in good, and we the audience find ourselves rooting for him. 

Recommendation: Please be advised Lonesome is a very sexually graphic film. It contains sex scenes that are notably more explicit than those in other films.

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of the OFCS. RT Certified Critic

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