a short film by Paul Cockcroff.
2012 | 23 mins | UK.
principal players: Ryan Prescott / Mark Jenkins, Frank Ryan / James Francis, Paul Bloomfield / Brian, Ed Riley / Cedric, Vicky Bailey / Chloe, Emily Maguire / Michelle Addison and Andy Done Johnson as Phil, the Publicist.
Adapted Synopsis: "Fresh out of stage school, Mark Jenkins, a young pretty boy actor finds himself getting the auditions, if not the parts. Then again, in Mark's mind there's only one man who can help him - James Francis; an established writer and celebrated gay icon. Only at what point does his determination to succeed in the business, border on obsessive desire?"
Refreshingly told from a different perspective, this original British born and bred short in shining its spotlight on the lengths that some actors will seemingly go to achieve fame and fortune, thankfully injects new life into the tried and tested scenario. For here writer and co-producer Adam Hughes delights in playing with the idea of how far would an individual go, to achieve their goals in life? In Mark's case, it's all but clear, as Ryan Prescott of Emmerdale credit takes on a stalker-like persona, forever turning up like a bad penny just when author, turned theatrical director James Francis, aka actor Frank Ryan, thought the coast was clear.
It is a concept well played by one and all, for whilst the locations are not exactly Hollywood; rather Bradford's finest, including the lush setting of The Midland Hotel, the theme however is the same. For just like Matthew Mishory's recent cinematic Portrait of James Dean, here we find a struggling actor prepared to do "whatever it takes" to secure his name in lights.
He's behind you in Gatecrasher.
True, the menacing angle of the piece is not exactly edge-of-the-seat, but then it was never intended to be, with Mark ever gatecrashing himself into James' life armed with a cheeky smile, rather than a set of knives. For in a work that juxtaposing shades of light with dark tones, Hughes laces his screenplay with a number of narrative clues as to dramatic nature of the closing scene. That Ed Riley as Cedric, otherwise known as "the biggest queen outside Buckingham Palace" brings a breath of camp comical air to the show, is to his credit. Yet it is the Prescott / Ryan pairing that dominate throughout, as the "payment for services rendered" setup raises its head unsurprisingly again, even if some may have opted for gay boy Mark to have been cast as straight, thereby adding to the sexual complexity of the arrangement.
Doing whatever it takes in Gatecrasher.
That said and in an industry littered with broken dreams, this emotive short lays bare the consequences of obsessive desire, along the way questioning if the price is truly worth paying? And that is the poignant message to be had, in this finely tuned work that and like many a good short, begs for another reel come the close of play. A job well done, indeed, with the footage of The Bridge Inn, a nice touch for the Leeds boys.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - from the waist up.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.