A lyrical portrait of aimless youth painted with touches of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho is cold and uninvolving, which isn’t to say that it’s wholly unsuccessful. Rather, if one can look past the filmmaker’s affected Bard adaptation – which has the raggedy, improvisational feel of a community theater production – and his insipid romanticizing of gay street hustlers into icons of grungy, sexy coolness, there exists a quite stark, poetic rumination on the unyielding desire for home. Narcoleptic Mike (River Phoenix) lives life in a fugue state between sleep and consciousness, and his days in the Pacific Northwest are spent whoring himself out to johns and hanging out with his Prince Hal-ish cohort Scott (Keanu Reeves), an heir to political power and wealth slumming it as a male prostitute. Their episodic journey from Portland to Idaho to Italy and back in search of Mike’s mom puts them in contact with an assortment of strange characters – including the Falstafian Bob Pigeon (William Richert) and a German auto parts salesman (Udo Kier) – but Van Sant’s film never assumes a straightforward narrative, instead using primary-colored intertitle cards, symbolic insert shots, and an elliptical structure to foster a dreamlike atmosphere that, like his Bela Tarr-inspired trilogy of recent years, strives to situate viewers in a distinct time and space. Such an endeavor is all-too-often undermined by his clunky Shakespearean conceit and his quickly wearisome habit of cinematographically drooling over the posing Reeves and Phoenix. But if My Own Private Idaho is never truly moving (save for Mike’s heartbreaking campfire admission of love to Scott), it’s nonetheless bathed in a somewhat marvelously vagabond mood of elegiac longing.