WILD TIGERS I HAVE KNOWN, which was Sundance Institute, marks the feature debut of Cam Archer. The movie was executive produced by Gus Van Sant, whose output obviously was an influence on the neophyte filmmaker, and Scott Rudin.
Not unlike THE BLOSSOMING OF MAXIMO OLIVEROS, WILD TIGERS I HAVE KNOWN centers on the first crush of a gay teenager. Archer attempts to create a visual equivalent of the moody world that its central character experiences. Logan (Malcolm Stumpf) is a loner and an outcast who hangs out with the like-minded Joey (Max Paradise). But whereas Joey is attempting to figure out how to become popular and land a girlfriend, Logan is more interested in one particular boy -- the slightly older Rodeo Walker (Patrick White). To me watching the film was like seeing a queer remake of the cult television show My So-Called Life, with Stumpf's Logan in the place of Clare Danes' Angela and White's Rodeo as the equivalent of Jared Leto's Jordan Catelano. And I don't necessarily mean that in a good way.
Archer does capture the pain and suffering that one who is not a member of the "cool" group goes through in junior high school and high school. Clearly Logan is at that point in his life where he is trying to formulate his persona. He knows what he isn't, but he isn't sure just where he belongs. His harried mother (Fairuza Balk, wasted in a relatively thankless part) doesn't really offer much support. His friend Joey is also struggling with the same issues.
Because he is a novice filmmaker, Archer goes overboard on the symbolism, and the introduction of a female telephone persona for Logan (voiced by an adult actress) is a major misstep. The film, though, does exhibit some potential and there are a couple of lyrical moments that do capture the difficulties of puberty. Still, all and all, it doesn't really add up to much, and this movie won't be to everyone's tastes.