TRAINED— 3 STARS
In Trained, the urban clatter of one of Chicago’s Red Line commuter trains elevates pulse rates. Two people who begin holding hands on the outside platform in patient anticipation have immediate lust take over with the train’s arrival. Their gazes lock and their lips follow suit. Unbridled passion releases as the public display of affection in the Chicago chill shifts to warmer private interiors. This opening scene of filmmaker Yuri Rutman’s spare yet sizzling short film tantalizingly begs many questions.
What kind of couple are we witnessing? What triggers provoke this passion? A montage follows to show that this wild escapade is not the first time the hearts and loins of these two people have been electrified around the rails of public transportation. This is Jake and Emma, and they are tragically intoxicated by two different things at the expense of each other.
LESSON #1: WHAT IS SIDERDROMOPHILIA? — The suggested question of a trigger is answered by this fetishistic condition. Siderdromophilia is the infirmity where someone cannot get aroused unless he or she is in, on, or around moving trains. Go ahead and raise your eyebrows, but before you giggle, know that siderdromophilia is a documented real thing and legitimate possible diagnosis. As someone wise once said, there are “different strokes for different folks.” Know that about yourself and anyone else before treading deeper into Trained.
Emma, played by lithe model/actress Jenny Diamico, possesses this very specific sexual difficulty. These urges have created a woman of odd scheduling habits. In some moments, the predictive regularity answers cravings while at other times sparks unwanted ones. Delays and deviations, as you could imagine, cause havoc.
This flawed hurdle for intimacy has taken a heavy toll on her relationship with Jake (Rutman, calling his own number). Their relationships seems to be tethered to the physicality. Softer love is a distant need. The couple converses in broken sentences with pensive pauses and defeatist diatribes. Does Jake indulge in this uneven desire or does he rid himself of this frustration?
LESSON #2: TRYING TO FORCE CHANGE IN PEOPLE — Jake’s intoxication is her, which answers his character choices. Jake is hooked and believes he can break through Emma’s siderdromophilia to have his own amorous appetite satiated without the kinky catalyst. There is a selfish lament to this man because he encounters more failure than success in trying to normalize Emma and his own expectations.
As a micro-budget short film Trained is imperfect but endlessly interesting. There is an economy of language where the dialogue is low and empty stares reign. Over-explaining its oddities would be problematic (think back to those giggles of disbelief), so this lack of exposition creates palpable intrigue. Instead, the bleak atmosphere and the torrid sexual encounters captured its angular and voyeuristic camerawork do the talking. Rutman and Diamico never over-perform their dangerous doldrums. They create both the right collisions and the right distances to match the hot-and-cold state of their characters’ relationship.
Buyer beware, there’s no prudity to Trained. This isn’t a movie of plucky introductions and forgone conclusions. These are two people who’s skins are flush with desire yet crawling with their internal flaws, and Rutman doesn’t shy away from those smears. Even the flickering emotions are slight amid its unpredictability. The characters may have no self-control, but the film itself does. The movie is not an excuse to get its own rocks off. There’s an auspicious attempt to make something challenging here with barbed content and topics. Something underwritten and willing to take chances beats overwritten inflation every time.
LOGO DESIGNED BY MEENTS ILLUSTRATED (#780)