The romance movie,”Burning Blue”, written and directed by D. M. W. Greer tells the love story between three men serving in the United State Navy as fighter pilots. The controversial policy ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ implemented my President Bill Clinton catapulted massive waves of witch-hunts for the prosecution of gay service members. In total, over 14,000 highly qualified men and women service members were forced out of the military under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In this movie, it captured and illustrated the emotional, devastating and tragic consequences of the policy when it threaten to derail the careers of Dan Lynch, William Stephenson and Matt Blackburn who were all fighter pilots in the Navy. This entire movie is reminiscent of “Poem II”, from the Adrienne Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems collection.
Dan Lynch is best friends with William Stephenson. They are both fighter pilots for the Navy. Dan and Will made a promise to one another to fulfill their childhood dreams of honorably serving in the Navy and transitioning to the prestigious Navy Test Pilot Program together. Although the movie did not show any obvious romance scene, there were subtle signs that Dan and Will might of had something more than a regular male friendship between them. Both men were dating women. Dan got engaged to a women. Will got married and eventually had a son. Their friendship was intensely homo-erotic.
Matt Blackburn came into Dan life when one of the other fighter pilots in their squadron died of a training accident aboard an aircraft carrier. The crash prompted an NCIS investigation into the crash. Matt was a handsome guy with a chiseled jaw line and the personality of an “alpha” male. He was also married. Dan and Matt eventually starting hanging around each other. They were spotted dancing together in a New York City gay night club while on liberty. Will soon distanced himself from Dan. The initial investigation of an airplane crash soon turned its an investigation into the personal lives of Dan, Will and Matt.
The movie perfectly illustrated the witch-hunt of gay service members under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. Dan was stalked and photos were taken of him with Matt and Will at different occasions. The pictures were “suggestive” in nature but never were any concrete evidences that factually pointed to them to homosexual intercourse. Some of these photos were of Dan and Will drunkenly dancing with each other after a house party while Will’s wife briefly went upstairs. Another photo was recovered as evidence revealing five naked men, including Will and Dan, posing in a provocative nature. As explained by one of the men in the picture during an interrogation, that the picture was only an attempt to recreate a naked painting the men have seen at a museum. Can it be possible that being too close to another man, such as your best friend, be subject to violation of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’?
The tangled triangle romance between Dan, Will and Matt was tested. All of the men showed no ‘stereotypical” physical indications of homosexuals. All of the men were in a straight relationship with other women. Dan got engaged. Will married and had a son. Matt was married. Unfortunately, these types of relationships are common in the military with gay men under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. The suppression of homosexual desires were often masked and disguised with relationship with women. Thrusting themselves deeper and deeper into the heterosexual culture. The military expected these men to be heterosexuals. The investigation led to the death of Matt. Dan eventually left the Navy and Will admitted that he loved Dan all along.
Two of the most profound moments in the movie were when Dan proclaimed his love for Matt by saying, “If we are careful, we can do this. We can.” and Will’s admission of love to Dan at the very last scene of the movie.
This movie is in direct relations to Adrienne Rich’s “Poem II”, the struggles of homosexuals everywhere to be accepted. Even though Rich’s poem was written in the context from a lesbian and women point of view, it is still as equally significant to male homosexuality point of view. A part of the poem I found that correlated well to this movie was “and I laugh and fall dreaming again, of the desire to show you to everyone I love, to move openly together”.