Cătălin Mitulescu’s second feature, Loverboy, gets closer to the crude naturalism of If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle, which he co-wrote and produced, than to the magic realism of his first film, The Way I Spent the End of the World. The premise of this gritty study on human trafficking is pure gold, as the loverboy’s victims willingly agree to sell their bodies out of blind love for their seducer. Mitulescu convincingly recreates this fractured adolescent universe in which money matters most, feelings are commodified, hormones waft about uncontrollably, and ethics is on a long lunch break. That is, until love gets in the way and the hunter becomes the hunted. Featuring the same leading couple as in Whistle, Loverboy moves unavoidably towards an end that has the force of a punch in the stomach.
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