The Last Gigolos


By: Addison Wylie

Cruise ships can be vulnerable places, and the audience witnesses that in Stephan Bergmann’s dawdling doc The Last Gigolos.  The viewer boards a ship occupied by an elderly crowd – most are single, all are eager to set sail.  As the cruise moves from one destination to the next, the passengers find chemistry with each other as they discuss ways to stay energetic as well as their sombreness when grieving lost loved ones.

The gigolos are three hosts on the ship.  Movie goers watch these gentlemen as they acquaint themselves with the guests, share stories with each other, and converse about the power of dance.  “Dance?” you ask.  The most compelling moment of Bergmann’s film happens when a host irons out the strategy behind a good dance, and how different techniques can send a guest to a higher state of happiness.  He has it mapped out and calculated, and he’s always wanting to cut a rug.

However, I’m afraid I’ve told you all the interesting parts of Bergmann’s inoffensive doc, which is otherwise an aimless tourism video.  The Last Gigolos stretches itself fairly thin with the already limited material.  The first few dances are amiable and cute, but then the routine loses flavour.  They start to feel like leftover bits from previous meet-ups between the hosts and the guests.

Then, there’s a problem with the actual filming of the documentary.  Much of the B-roll is too stagey and rehearsed.  We can all too easily picture Bergmann approaching passengers and telling them which Point A to start from, and what Point B they should end up at.  Granted, some of these folks seem as if they appreciate the walkthrough, but its all too blunt for the audience to find convincing.

Then, for some reason, Bergmann overshadows the titled gentlemen and gives more screen time to a variety of indistinct patrons.  These individual takes are assisted with voiceovers of each person telling the audience about themselves.  Some of this insight backs up the honest nature that stands out the most about The Last Gigolos.  Other times, it feels as if the documentarian is running out the clock.

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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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