Sequin In A Blue Room
Stars: Conor Leach, Simon Croker, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Samuel Barrie, Ed Wightman
Shades of Gregg Araki’s neon-lit strangeness in this accomplished debut from Australian writer-director Samuel Van Grinsven, a coming-of-age tale with thriller elements set in the world of social media.
Impressive newcomer Leach is the titular figure, a gay sixteen-year-old living in Sydney with his single dad (Lindsay-Taylor) His father is entirely comfortable with his son’s sexuality but concerned that he may be taking risks. Sequin (known throughout only by his online moniker) orchestrates one night stands through a social media app during English lit lessons on transgressive love. Following the no-strings sex sessions he blocks the men. As for his offline life, he half-heartedly agrees to go to the movies with the shy classmate Tommy (Corker) who has a crush on him, but keeps him at arm’s length.
Sequin discovers that he is being stalked by ‘B’ (Wightman), a middle-aged man with whom he had a brief liaison. Later chancing on a sex party at the Blue Room in which he wanders through maze-like spaces separated by translucent sheets, Sequin runs into B again, but manages to avoid him by hooking up with another middle-aged man, who he in turn becomes fixated on. When Sequin arranges to meet the obsessive B again in order to find out how to gain admittance to more Blue Room parties, the situation becomes dangerously knotty.
Van Grinsven deftly juggles the various genres while offering up a genuinely illuminating (and for older viewers possibly worrying) look at sex and relationships in the social media age, while providing keen observations on the pre and post online generational gap in the queer world.
Despite a low budget the picture looks very impressive, sporting a grey and blue colour palate that is as alluring as it is eerie. Leach skilfully conveys Sequin’s reversion transformation from self-possessed and sexually strident youth to vulnerable sixteen-year-old, while the writing is nuanced enough to ensure that Sequin’s dad doesn’t descend into an overly liberal parent comic stereotype.
The ending feels a little too neat following the artful murk that has preceded it, but this is nonetheless an impressive debut which marks the director as one to watch.
‘Sequin In a Blue Room’ is released through digital platforms on 9th April
Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm