Review: Beach Rats (2017)

Atmospheric and beautifully shot against the backdrop of Coney Island, Eliza Hittman's Beach Rats features a standout performance by Harris Dickinson as Frankie - young and bored in Brooklyn, who meets older men through the internet for sex and drugs. Frankie also has a girlfriend, a dying father and paces the hot streets, boardwalks and beach with a group of friends who don't seem to be going anywhere or doing anything. They just hang out. They don't even seem to like each other very much
Through Dickinson's portrayl of Frankie, you feel his ennui, his sense of being lost and not knowing his true identity. The hot, listless New York nights are almost suffocating as Frankie doesn't know what to do with himself. It's not that his home life seems especially terrible - despite his father dying of cancer, his mother is caring and his sister is okay, not the usual depiction of a pain in the ass family - it's just Frankie has no direction, no motivation, no focus.
One night, Frankie tells his friends that he meets gay men off the internet to get drugs from them. Why does he do this? Is he testing their reaction on his sexuality or does he do it - again - out of sheer boredom? It's breaks the monotony, it's something to say. When his friends ask to come along to get the drugs next time, you have the feeling something terrible is about to happen.
Beach Rats is Hittman's second film, following It Felt Like Love, and it shows great promise of things to come. It's a hazy, lazy, sexy film full of neon, heat, fireworks and confusion. And we loved it.
Watch it for: Harris Dickinson is one to watch
Watch out for: One of Frankie's hook-ups is ambushed
8/10 Wonder Wheels