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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Review: Biopic "Tom of Finland"

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Written by Guy Lodge

Ever since the bulbous, gorgeous gay erotica of one-time underground icon Tom of Finland crossed over from the locked drawer to the coffee table, it has been plagued by the same old line of discourse. Is it art or is it porn? Dome Karukoski's straightforwardly titled biopic "Tom of Finland" makes pleasingly short work of that tedious question: It's both, of course. Though otherwise rather too cautious about letting its freak flag fly, Karukoski's conventionally attractive, enjoyable portrait is most effective at showcasing the bountiful beauty of Touko "Tom" Laaksonen's fleshy, filthy sketches, as well as the empowered pursuit of pleasure for which they continue to stand. If the more intimate side of the frisky Finn's story seems insufficiently liberated on screen -- any kinky content here is pure vanilla relative to the rocky road of Tom's own oeuvre -- the film's compromises should at least yield a wider, welcome audience for its rainbow flag-waving.

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