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  Sequin in a Blue Room The Coldest Colour
Year: 2019
Director: Samuel Van Grinsven
Stars: Conor Leach, Simon Croker, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Anthony Brandon Wong, Joshua Shediak, Ed Wightman, Patrick Cullen, Damien de Montemas, Samuel Barrie, Tsu Chan Chambers, Nancy Denis, Darren Kumar
Genre: Drama, SexBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sequin (Conor Leach) is a sixteen-year-old self-identified "twink" who spends his days thinking about one thing and one thing only: sex and how to get it. He does this through his mobile phone, hooking up with strangers, often older men, who he meets through an app that tells him where to meet them, the sex ensues, and then he blocks them because he has no interest in either a relationship or even seeing the same person twice. He lives with his single father who has no idea about his son's proclivities, and at school instead of concentrating on lessons he gazes at his phone under the desk, arranging and arranging his next encounter.

Can he sustain this lifestyle or will a chance encounter in the "Blue Room" bring it all crashing down? Sequin in a Blue Room had its director and co-writer Samuel Van Grinsven heralded in some quarters as a bright new hope for queer cinema, despite this, effectively his debut, being an expanded student film and not having a huge budget to play with (but then again, how many gay films really do have a huge budget to play with?). It was certainly a showcase for his stylish eye for elegant imagery, with a dash of pretension to divert attention away from the fact the viewer was often watching soft porn concocted by this Australian (born in New Zealand), which does not often win many plaudits.

Well, not for the straight variety anyway. But he had more imagination than that, and fashioned his steamy sex scenes into a learning curve for his protagonist. The trouble was, while this was a coming of age tale, with the emphasis on the coming, Sequin (his assumed name after the shiny top he sports) was not exactly a great guy. Indeed, he was actually pretty obnoxious, using men for sex when even at sixteen he should be old enough to know better, and so fixated on the carnal that he becomes tiresome to spend time in the company of - he even masturbates at school, both in the boys' toilets and under his desk, in case you were thinking of shaking hands with him. This obsession would have been more palatable had it been tempered with some other interest.

But when, say, a nice but disappointingly safe schoolfriend Tommy (Simon Croker) suggests they go out on a date of sorts, he neglects him in favour of trying to track down this bloke he shagged in that Blue Room. Ah, yes, the Blue Room, which is where Sydney's elite of gays goes for guilt-free, anonymous pleasures of the flesh, all lit up, er, blue and with plenty of plastic sheeting that must be easy to wash off, at least. Sequin gets an invite, and though he is a little distracted by a middle-aged "daddy" he hooked up with the previous day, who will be his undoing eventually, he goes along and has the shag of his life with Edward (Samuel Barrie) who promptly disappears from the scene since that's the way these things are supposed to go: our hero doesn't like it when the tables are turned.

But Sequin apparently is feeling the stirrings of needing more than sex, he probably needs, gulp, love as well! To be fair, he does end this story a better person than where he started, and this made no attempt to reach out to anyone who was not onboard with its parade of unclad male torsos, but there was way too much slow motion (which must have doubled an already skimpy length) and that too prevalent habit of putting text messages on the screen in lieu of dialogue had got very old some time before. Still, if you needed dodgy sexual fantasy fuel, this was happy to provide it, if not, apply elsewhere - it appeared to have been inspired by the type of reveries of lust that might be best kept to oneself, and if this had been about a sixteen-year-old girl as a sex object for older men would it have been more controversial? But it wasn't, and for some reason that excused it, which may make you uncomfortable should you contemplate the implications, though there is an optimistic conclusion. Music by Brent Williams.

[Sequin in a Blue Room is released on UK & Irish digital platforms 9th April 2021. The film is released in the US & Scandinavia from 17th May.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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