"I love you, Horst... and what's wrong with that?"Bent
is a 1997 film based on the 1979 play of the same name. It stars Clive Owen and Lothaire Bluteau in the lead roles, as well as a cameo appearance by Sir Ian McKellen
In this film, set in Berlin during the 1930s, Max (Owen) is a promiscuous customer of a popular cabaret. But after the night of the long knives, he finds himself on the inside of a concentration camp. He convinced the guards that he was Jewish, rather than gay, under the belief that Jews would be treated better. But after coming into contact with the openly gay inmate Horst (Bluteau), Max has to decide whether it's more important to do whatever it takes to survive, or risk everything to show he is proud of who he is.
Bent provides examples of:
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Max. At first.
- All Gays Are Promiscuous: Averted. Max seems to be quite loose in the beginning of the movie, but his lover was very upset about him seeing other people. Horst, too, was shocked at what Max was willing to do with the guards to get some extra medicine.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: While Horst is nearing a complete mental break down from their rock duties, he confesses to Max that he loves him. Much to Max's frustration, as Max refuses to risk giving the guards any reason to make their lives more hellish.
- Armored Closet Gay: What Max was willing to do to hide his orientation from the Nazis left everyone... speechless.
- Bury Your Gays
- Can't Have Sex, Ever: Horst and Max are forbidden to touch each other at all, they can't even make eye contact. They try to get around this by having very passionate and emotional verbal sex.
- Camp Gay: Rudy, Max's cabaret dancing boyfriend.
- Character Development: Max started off as a drug using drunken floozy who was perfectly happy to cheat and lie to do whatever it takes to skirt danger. But after meeting Horst he gradually becomes a better person.
- Club Kid: Max was a 1930's equivalent of this trope. Taking cocaine, casual sex with men, and being a regular patron at cabarets.
- Coming-Out Story
- Coolest Club Ever: Max would be a patron of some elaborate cabarets.
- Cruel Mercy: Max convinces the guards in the concentration camp to let him and Horst have a better, safer job than the other people. Taking rocks from one side of the room, and putting them in a neat pile on the other side of the room. They then have to repeat this task over and over, all day, every day. Eventually they both start going insane from this psychological torture, and start dreaming about piling rocks even in their sleep.
- Defiant to the End: Horst gets killed by the guards. But he manages to scratch their face, horrifying them.
- Developing Doomed Characters: The first 45 minutes or so showed Max and his lovers living it up in a cabaret while being altogether unpleasant.
- Downer Ending
- Drag Queen: The cabaret featured a crossdresser, who ends up abandoning his lifestyle to run away and lie low from the Gestapo.
- Driven to Suicide: This trope happens and is discussed multiple times in the movie.
- Fore Shadowing: The song that the drag queen sings in the beginning, of having to leave Berlin for good, is exactly what he plans to do.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Played for serious drama. By the end of the movie Max has forgotten Rudy's name after the torture he's experienced, and barely remembers his face.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: The bespectacled Nazi on the train.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: In the beginning Max has a fancy styled hair and a pencil thin mustache to show his being part of the uppercrust. After he's made bald and given Perma Stubble he becomes sympathetic.
- I Am What I Am: Max's final act in the film is putting on a blood stained uniform with a pink triangle sewn on, before committing suicide.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Max uses this as his justification through out the movie. Being willing to do things like beat his boyfriend to death, have sex with a recently murdered corpse of a teenage girl, or perform sexual acts for the guards if it meant even having a small chance of getting out of the camp alive.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Horst begins to develop one.
- The Load: Rudy, as far as Max is concerned.
- Madness Mantra: Max, during the train ride. "This isn't happening... this isn't happening.. this isn't happening.."
- Nazi Germany: The setting of the beginning of the film.
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Subverted. Uncle Freddy seems to be gay, but is happy to hide it for practical reasons.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The film takes place in Germany, and yet everyone still has British accents.
- Please, I Will Do Anything!: Max's general plan of escape seems to be whatever it takes.
- Queer Romance
- Remake Cameo: Sir Ian McKellen, who played Max in the original production of Bent on stage, shows up in the film as Max's uncle.
- Talking to the Dead: The final dialogue in the movie is Max speaking to Horst's corpse after being forced to hold it for ten minutes straight.
- Tempting Fate: Horst is killed a few minutes after Max starts talking about the possibility of them having a future together.
- Those Wacky Nazis
- Traumatic Haircut: As is custom for the prisoners, Max has his stylish hair shaved off.
- Villainous Crossdresser: The informant who tells the gestapo where to find one of their gay soldiers, which ends up causing Max to be sent into the camp was the drag queen in the cabaret.
- World War II