- Product Rating -

Art House Asshole : Beats Per Minute

| October 27, 2017

Do you ever want to feel artistically superior to all of your friends? Maybe you are tired of your friends talking about how great the latest action film is and want to sound better.Maybe you want to impress your date with obscure film trivia. Maybe you think that knowing a lot about film history and art will somehow validate your meaningless existence and will replace that ever-growing pit in your heart that tells you that you don’t matter and no one cares about you/ Well don’t worry! Because I watch a bunch of art house films and can give you recommendations on what to watch and what to feel superior about! So without any delay, let’s get pretentious!



AIDS sucked. I know I’m taking a controversial statement here by saying that I was not a fan of the AIDS epidemic. But I think it’s just worth stating that I was never like “Yeah! AIDS!” And after watching this film, I still agree. AIDS was really bad. Sure. Yeah. That’s how I’m going to start this review. By saying that AIDS is bad. I’m glad that I know how to write so I can write such masterpieces like this review. I have no worth as a human being.


BPM: Beats Per Minute, also called 120 BPM: Beats Per Minutes or sometimes called 120 BPM, is a French film following the goings on of ACT UP, an AIDS activist campaign in Paris in the 1990s. Directed by primarily screenwriter Robin Campillo, BPM follows many members of ACT UP but its main focus is on Nathan, played by Arnaud Valois, a non-HIV Positive individual who joins ACT UP and begins a relationship with Sean, played by Nahuel Perez Biscayart, an HIV Positive individual and one of the founding members of ACT UP.


To get it out of the way, the biggest issue I had with this film is that it is too accurate. You might be thinking, “Hey! That’s a good thing! Things should be accurate! You have no worth as a human being!” And I agree. The issue though is that it is so accurate that I often don’t understand what the characters are talking about. There are multiple scenes that have the characters talking about the disease as well as the medication that they take or want. And they use these long words and acronyms that I’m sure are completely accurate to the situation. But I’m not fluent in AIDS medication. So when they talk about all of that and have arguments about which drug is better, which pharmacist is better, all of these things, I am just thinking “Wait what are you talking about?” I’m sure that some will look at this as a plus, but for me at least, it would often take me out of the story and it took me awhile before I actually got comfortable with it and understood what they were talking about.


On the flip side of this, I want to celebrate this film in being a film about the AIDS epidemic that doesn’t involve doctors. Almost every AIDS film I can think of or have seen is about the AIDS epidemic when it is discovered and the immediate panic. What I think is pretty unique about this film and what I really want to celebrate with this film is the fact that it is about people with AIDS and how no one wants to help them. It shows the ugly side of AIDS, the one where most people just don’t care. This film takes place a decade after the discovery of the disease and it is refreshing and haunting to see how after a decade, there is no cure and there is close to no hope. Then it gets worse when you realize that it’s been over 30 years since AIDS was discovered and we still haven’t cured it.


The biggest performance that I want to talk about is Nahuel Perez Biscayart and his portrayal of Sean. I think that Biscayart gives an amazing performance and one of the best I’ve seen all year. As we see his decay you see both his body and soul wither away. From the beginning of the film, it’s obvious the direction the film is going to go in. And when it finally gets there, it’s one the strongest scene of the film and one of the better scenes of the year. The problem is getting there.


I like this film. I really do. But it should not be as long as it actually is. It just goes on and on and to be frank it drags. I really like the ending of this film but I am hesitant to recommend this film because it just takes an excruciating amount of time to get there. I think the entire film is very beautifully crafted. And if the Academy Awards had an award for “Saddest Handjob” it would go to this film in a second. But it is very long with very little humor. The cinematography, outside of a couple shots, is nothing remarkable. But the end is so strong that it is hard for me not to like the film. It’s powerful. But it’s a painful blow.

About the Author:

Henry Jarvis is the youngest member of the Reel Nerds. His favorite films include Space Jam and Dude, Where’s My Car? and Lawrence of Arabia. He enjoys those pretentious art house films that Ryan hates. He sees a lot of movies! Honestly more than he should. He replaces his lack of social skills and meaningful friendships with his love of cinema! He’s also crying while he writes this biography for himself. His favorite directors are Andrei Tarkovsky, David Fincher, and David Lean.

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