Shank is a blistering British indie pulsating with untamed sexuality and aggression. Cal is a handsome teenage thug so desperate to hide his gay cravings from his fellow gang members that he binges on drugs, secretive anonymous sex and acts of violence. But the bad boys secret desires are uncovered when he rescues a kind-eyed French exchange student from one of the clan s sadistic hate crimes. Though the two boys fall passionately in love, Cal s crew is bent on revenge for his betrayal and the young lovers are placed in unspeakable danger. Unapologetic and as poignant as it is shocking, Shank is a must see…
Audience Award Barcelona International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
- Genre: Gay Film
- Runtime: 94 minutes
The film is set in Bristol (several shots feature the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and one appears to show the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta). Cal (Wayne Virgo) is an 19-year-old closeted gay gang member who has nothing in his life except drugs, sex, random acts of violence and a secret that he keeps hidden from his mates. An online hookup for sex with a stranger, Scott (Garry Summers), ends in him assaulting and abandoning Scott out in the countryside. This temporarily satisfies but fails to dampen his unspoken desires for his best mate, Jonno (Tom Bott). Nessa (Alice Payne), their twisted, foul-mouthed and controlling, de facto gang leader who harbours much hatred towards everyone for losing a child at the age of 14, suspects that there is something going on between them but she can't put her finger on it. Jonno, putty in Nessa's hands, can't express his own deep rooted and unrequited attachment to Cal. Manipulating situations that bring her closer to having her suspicions confirmed, Nessa sets out about dividing loyalties and encouraging conflict.
For no good reason an innocent student, Olivier (Marc Laurent), falls victim to one of her plans and is mugged on her orders by the gang. Cal steps in to restrain them and creates a distraction allowing Olivier to run free. Ignoring Nessa's screams of contempt, he chases after him and offers him a lift by way of an apology. Fearing that the fall-out from Nessa for his actions will be harsh, Cal persuades Olivier to help him out. Seizing the moral high ground and sensing that there was something more to Cal's Good Samaritan act, Olivier allows Cal to stay with him for a few days. Acting on his own attraction to Cal, Olivier seduces him and in doing so, exposes Cal to new emotions and a tenderness that he has never experienced before.
Soon, the boys are overtaken by the embrace of the first flush of love. Cal and Olivier's relationship progress, but Olivier is warned by Scott, who happens to be one of his professors, to be wary of Cal. Scott gives Olivier his phone number and tells Olivier to contact him if he is ever in need of help. Nessa can't contain her rage for Cal's disloyalty to the gang and sets about hunting him down, intent on destroying him once and for all. With her gang in tow and Jonno tightly wound up, she kidnaps Olivier, taunting Cal with video messages via her mobile phone, to come and save his boyfriend. Arriving at the abandoned factory where they are all waiting for him, he reveals that he is equally hurt by the child she lost, as he was the father. Meanwhile, Jonno and the other gang members begin to destroy Cal's car before they turn toward him. As the showdown unfolds, Nessa loses all control of events and Jonno explodes in act of sexual aggression by raping Cal and leaving everyone traumatized. Shocked by what she has witnessed, Nessa realizes she will now never be able to break the bond between Cal and Olivier while she and the other gang members flee. Olivier then contacts Scott for help and he rescues them and tends to Cal's wounds.
As the film ends Cal sends Scott a video of the man being beat up in the opening scenes of the movie, with the message "Sorry". That man turns out to be Scott's husband (they both wore wedding rings) who is still in a coma at the hospital. Cal throws away his phone, before joining hands and boarding a train with Olivier, severing his last remaining link to the gang and his old life.
Cast & Characters