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Lost Boys – Hot Docs 2021

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Filmmaker Joonas Neuvonen tries to find out what happened to his friends after a trip to Southeast Asia in Lost Boys. Following the release of his addict friends Jani and Antti from prison, Joonas Neuvonen accompanies them on a sex and drug-fueled trip to Bangkok, Thailand and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Joonas ends up returning home alone and returns two months later after not hearing back from either Jani or Antti. Joonas quickly finds out that Jani was found dead of strangulation and Antti hospitalized after a seizure and he proceeds to retrace the steps of their trip months before to find out exactly what happened.

Lost Boys is Finnish filmmaker Joonas Neuvonen’s follow-up to his 2010 documentary Reindeerspotting: Escape from Santaland. Co-directed by cinematography and editor Sadri Cetinkaya, for reasons we will discover, Lost Boys is an unfiltered look of the Joonas, Jani and Antti’s hedonistic odyssey in Southeast Asia. Accompanied by haunting narration by Finnish actor Pekka Strang, Lost Boys leads us down a very dark rabbit hole.

Lost Boys is a very transgressive documentary that doesn’t shy away from its very unflattering depictions of explicit sex and rampant drug use. I’ve never seen Joonas Neuvonen’s previous documentary Reindeerspotting and I probably don’t want to after seeing Lost Boys, which not only sees Joonas exploiting the death of his friend Jani to create a real-life film noir, but the film is also arguably xenophobic for its depiction of both Bangkok and Cambodia as dark and dangerous places. It is obvious that Joonas wanted something more sinister to be at play surrounding Jani’s death, but the truth is just a sad tale of a drug addict at the end of his rope.

Lost Boys is streaming as part of the 2021 Hot Docs Film Festival


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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