Thursday 4 August 2011

‘A Marine Story’ – Desert Workouts & Tequila Marine Style

‘A Marine Story’ is a hard-hitting film about Alex Everett, played by Dreya Weber, a woman who has followed in her father’s footsteps, and dedicated her life to the marines. She lives and breathes the military life and has spent many years in Iraq. Her world is turned upside down though, when she is investigated for open homosexual conduct, something strictly off limits in the rigid US military. Despite her denial of anything improper and the presence of a ‘husband’ her superior’s have photographic proof and she is discharged.

Life has to start anew for Alex, and she makes her way back to her family’s house in the desert, now empty and rundown. Things don’t go smoothly though. Trouble appears in the shape of local drug dealers and shoplifters, leading to fights along the way. Purpose comes in the form of a bitter young woman named Saffron, played by Paris Pickard, who is facing a choice of signing up for the army or being sent to a detention centre, due to her role in robberies with her druggie boyfriend. Saffron has her own troubles that have led her to end up hanging out with a bad crowd.

Her grandmother and the local sheriff approach Alex to see if she will spend some time with Saffron. The idea is for Alex to whip the young layabout into shape, and help her get accepted into the army. Alex and Saffron bond over gruelling workouts in the desert heat, and a mutual respect develops. Slowly Alex settles into civilian life. She meets someone and begins to adjust to the freedom of life outside of the lies and hypocrisy of the US military. 

There are some tough scenes along the way, as like the harshness of the desert landscape, there is a brutality to life that reminded me of ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. Viewers may end up disappointed by the main love scene, as it is cut short by paranoia and fear. There are gorgeous women in the film though, from the super buff Alex, her yoga teacher best friend Holly, to the petulant Saffron.

The film is based on the very real experiences of the many women and men serving in the military, who are forced to live a secret life due to the ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ policy. Women in the military are far more likely to be discharged for homosexual conduct than men, and the film highlights the imbalances between genders.

This is the second film by husband and wife duo, Ned Farr and Dreya Weber. Their first film together, ‘The Gymnast’, won a slew of awards and also featured Dreya in the lead role. With ‘A Marine Story’, Dreya is again in the lead role and gives an intense performance. The film has done very well at festivals around the world and was screened at the London lesbian and gay film festival this year.

After the first few scenes I was convinced that Dreya was a genuine lesbian, so it was surprising to find out she is married, but does describe herself at ‘omnisexual’. Perhaps it’s just the six-pack that she has due to her Olympic training, and work as an aerialist -think cirque du soleil. Now I know I am getting side tracked from the film but this is interesting. She is actually one of the world’s leading aerialist’s , and has worked on the concerts for Madonna, Cher, Pink & Britney to name a few mega stars. All this whilst being an actor, producer and heartthrob to thousands of lesbians. The question that has been put to her is why they make lesbian films. Well it seems that since her role in ‘Everything Relative’, she garnered a fan-base that she and her husband felt they could target for their next film. They realised that there is a demand for films with strong lesbian characters, and Dreya’s sister is a bisexual political activist and her brother is gay. And it works for them. I look forward to the next Farr & Weber film.
A Marine Story is available on DVD, and is distributed by Peccapics in the U.K.

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