Keep the Lights On
DIRECTOR: Ira Sachs | WRITERS: Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias | CAST: Thure Lindhardt, Zachary Booth, Julianne Nicholson, Paprika Steen, Sebastian La Cause, Miguel del Toro | USA
Keep the Lights On is a remarkably low-key movie on the potentially volatile subject of a relationship between two young professional New Yorkers that is doomed from the outset by co-dependency and addictions. Fresh from a break up and lonely, Erik (Thure Lindhardt), a documentary filmmaker who’s being supported by his wealthy family, hooks up with Paul (Zachary Booth), a semi-closeted lawyer with a burgeoning crack addiction. The film charts their relationship over a decade as Paul’s addiction intensifies — he enters rehab, he suffers relapses, they break up, they get back together — and although we’re clearly meant to sympathize with long-suffering Erik, I couldn’t help but feel that his own addiction to being in love, to being part of a couple no matter what, was also a problem. I would have liked to know more about these two men — especially Paul — as individuals, but that would have made this a different movie. (If you want to know the truth, I thought Erik was kind of a drip and I kept hoping that Paul would kick the habit, dump Erik, and find himself another boyfriend. I’m sure mine is a minority opinion.) Solid performances from both actors and a very steady hand by director Ira Sachs.