In this deep dive into American Gothic and the creepy underside of small-town, alt-right Texas, a young drifter named Alex (Jonny Mars) returns home to find that a mysterious figure from his past has resurfaced, setting him on a crooked course of revenge as he dredges up memories that have both haunted and shaped him.
As Alex’s journey unfolds and his mental state teeters, he comes to rely, with increasingly erratic motives, on a variety of emotional supports: an online advice guru, anonymous video parlor hookups, and the company of a neighboring teenage boy. The visual elegance of the filmmaking — with its carefully framed shots of abandoned sheds and nondescript motel rooms, sizzling bacon and desolate backwater vistas — lends an unsettling calm to the undercurrents of violence that course just beneath the surface, as Alex roams the back roads in a van buffeted by a constant stream of talk radio.
By turns chilling and disquieting, Discreet marks a tonal departure for Frameline audience favorite, San Francisco-based director Travis Mathews (I Want Your Love, Frameline36; Interior. Leather Bar., Frameline37), whose customary celebration of male sexuality and the body here gives way to something darker that is no less skillfully explored: the inescapable tidal wave of memory and experience as it crashes on the shore of the psyche.
— PETER L. STEIN
This film deals with mature themes and contains scenes depicting violence.