Filmed almost entirely outdoors, this dark take on the high school friends reunion scenario is ingrained with such an eerie tone, that hints of dark deeds ahead sadly give rise to one big cinematic, if well played con.
For here writer and director Gabriel Fleming delights in playing with his audience, along the way questioning the sexuality of his leading men, let alone adding a coded reference to a dead body that through a retrospective email narrative, details the lives of high school friends Jasper, Mark and Lily, who together with troublesome tagalong Caleb are reunited for a San Francisco styled Halloween night of drink, drugs and in this instance, revelations. Only this would turn out to be no ordinary night, as happy in love Jasper, now engaged to the beautiful Wendy and cocksure single guy Mark are forced to confront their unspoken feelings for each other, under the ever watchful gaze of Lily; a girl resentful of Jasperís prior involvement with the object of her desire. Yet is Mark as self-assured as what he makes out to be?
Taking you on a nocturnal journey through the streets of San Francisco, namely from the Mission to the Castro, through Golden Gate Park and the Sunset District and finally to the beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this homoerotic horseplay laden piece is more a journey of the mind, as Jasper and Mark come to realise the true extent of their love for each other. It is a moody mix that Fleming contrasts with the joyous carnival atmosphere of Halloween night, flashbacks to happier times spent on holiday on The Lost Coast, together with a series of breathtaking landscape / coastal views. Only as night turns to day, home truths are finally spoken, as Mark and Jasper struggle to reconcile their feelings for each other.
That this feature takes a while to get there, I dare say will delight some and infuriate others, given the lovelorn pair for the main part are seen walking around like dejected surreal spirits, longing to be set free to embrace their gay side, but too afraid of the repercussions. Yet with clever editing of the back and forth variety, striking urban / rural shots and a haunting score by Nathan Matthew David, Fleming convinces you to stay tuned, sure as you are that the closing frames are set to contain some big surprise. That the end reel arrives with a gay payoff, of sorts, goes without saying, but itís hardly the earth shattering secret hinted at, rather one laced with the poignant emotions of love, longing and regret. That many may well have preferred less meandering and more resolution, is all but clear in this deliberately slow soulful gay love story, with tears.
Gay Visibility - covert / overt.
Nudity - strictly from the waist up.
Overall - file under ... 3 stars.
screened as part of the 23rd London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2009
starring: Ian Scott McGregor / Jasper, Lucas Alifano / Mark, Lindsay Benner / Lily, Chris Yule / Caleb
with: Rob Hatzenbeller / Kent, George Nachtrieb / Lounge Singer, Jon Polanski / Keyboardist,
Nathan Pratt / Dead Body, Mark Marino / Paramedic #1, Nils Kenaston / Paramedic #2,
Bradly Mena / Shanti and Sarah Nealis as Wendy.