This film is an after story of a hate crime. A story of what-if's and wishful thinking. A story of regret and penance.
Part of me empathize with Brad. His emotions in the film really push some of my buttons. Probably because I experienced them too. Though I was not in anyway raped before, I understand the feeling of terror when Andy came back with his truck. The thought of someone not part of your inner circle knowing what you are brings out the phobia in any budding gay kid. Not to mention, this guy who came back is friends or even teammates with Brad's rapists.
I understand Brad's reaction all too well. The self-pity. The rage. The defensiveness. The mellowing. The resolve. It's as if Brad represents all there is about a gay kid's life. The five phases that I mentioned encompass the 5 stages of moving on of a gay man, well, for me at least.
I remembered shutting myself to others because I was afraid other boys I'll think that I'm just want to be friends with them for their bodies. That's why my initial reaction when guys approached me before was evasion or a shiver, just like Brad did when Andy tried to wipe the blood using his bonnet. I still have that fear even today and I am always very careful around other men around me.
There were two instances that Brad mellowed out to Andy. That one time the Brad invited Andy to his house and in the truck when Andy was fake asleep. I've always wondered how it turned out if Andy obliged to Brad's invitation. If Andy just accepted the invitation, Brad wouldn't have ran away. I imagined it to be a window of weakness for Brad, it was a risk asking a guy whom he barely talk to to come with him to his home. That's why I perfectly understand that when Andy turned him down, his defenses went back on. Then in the truck when Andy was faking he's asleep, he told him he was lying. He told him the truth. He told him that he was a virgin. He bared himself to Andy...
When Brad was touching Andy's chest, there was no lust in his eyes. He just wanted someone or some guy to care for him. Someone with a warm chest and a sturdy shoulder so he can shed his armor of bravado. I can totally relate.
That's why I perfectly understand when Brad turned on his defenses after Andy confessed that he watched the whole ordeal. He was thinking he found the guy that he can trust, being the first person that he told his true persona, only to be betrayed at the last minute. oooh boy... I totally relate.
In retrospect, Brad not taking Andy's hand when he was trying to give a handshake is simply a defensive mechanism. But I can imagine that it was pretty hard on Brad's part evidenced by a long pause during the handshake scene.
In my mind, Brad was crying both in rage and disappointment for the boy he thought he could trust.
This character is a very complex one. That's why I fell in love with David Clayton Rogers immediately after the last scene. He provided the right emotions, expressions, and repression to make the character likable, believable, and human. I may not like it, as I picture Andy as a perfect but broken guy, he's a closeted homosexual. Yep. he is.
I can describe Andy with one word, CONFUSED. He is confused of trying to be a good person yet tries so hard to protect his image especially with his peers. He knows that what they did was wrong, but was afraid that he will be called a fag if he stops his friends. He believes that being a gay is not ok with God but deep inside him, he knows, he is one. And that's his reason for not coming out of the closet, he speaks of religion but the truth is he's just afraid.
All throughout the film, we can see a very unstable Andy, one scene his shouting and cursing, yet in the next scene he will be friendly and nice. This adds to the Confused description that I gave him. He's not exactly sure how to handle the situation. He came back to help, but was not expecting the antagonistic response of Brad. That pissed him off but tried to calm down and still help. By the end of the movie, it was revealed that he was guilty for what happened to Brad. He watched as his peers sodomized this gay kid in front of him. He was so guilty that's why it came to the point that he allowed Brad to touch him. If you would recall that scene, that was the time that his face really looked as if he was thinking of something heavy. Then... He confessed to Brad that he watch.
One line that redeemed Andy for me is the last line...
"Hey Brad... Send me some... postcards or somethin..."
I think this showed that he really showed compassion and care for Brad. Brad may or may not oblige to this but I'm sure it will be on Brad's mind.
I love this film. I can keep watching it again and again. oh Dvaid Clayton Rogers... Why are you so beautiful?