TEST is director/writer Chris Mason Johnson's second feature, sets in San Francisco, 1985, in the wake of the AIDS epidemic, Frankie (Marlowe) is a young dancer in a dancer company, currently a stand-in for a modern dance project called AFTER DARK. The film surprisingly chooses a rather poised attitude to narrate Frankie's day-to-day life, minutely records his sexual desire, the terror towards the unknown virus and the indecision regarding a new clinic test which could be a death knell for gay men, like his fellow dancer Todd (Risch) says - we come out to our family with death. Johnson never play up the platitudinous romance which is a common trait in the genre, although from their first scene together, audience can perceive a certain spark between Frankie and Todd, but it is not until near the end, they finally strike up a tentative physical contact, again no sparks fly ecstasy, but in an all-too-casual manner and without any implication for melodramatic commitment issues. It is a telling bond between two gay men who may or may not be each other's chosen one.
Artistically, the film also feels a shade different from its peers, first of all, the original choreography fashioned by Sidra Bell is nothing if not a ravishing stunt, at the same time the camera generates its own motion by gyrating fluidly around the dancers' movements. Moreover, Johnson implants Ceiri Torjussen's constantly muffled score to reflect Frankie's sensitive mental activities and deploys his Walkman and the vintage soundtrack as a reminder of the ethos of the era. An unpretentious script encapsulates a viable life trajectory of a common figure and occasionally is effervescent with amusement, such as the jest when they try to have sex with a condom for the first time and how it could end sex- activity forever, or when AIDS has been pointedly referred as an agent to instigate the wave of monogamy. Scott Marlowe firmly projects a sensitive persona on Frankie, who resembles a more lifelike character loathing promiscuity but not a total prude too, when temptation turns up, he can also egg it on if he likes it. The film is nominated for John Cassavetes Award in INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS 2015, which is definitely a tremendous spur for Johnson to proceed with his next project, and auspiciously, TEST shares a similar texture and sincerity of Andrew Haigh's WEEKEND (2011), another genre-defining contemporary LGBT indie.
San Francisco, 1985: Frankie confronts the challenges of being an understudy in a modern dance company as he embarks on a budding relationship with Todd, a veteran dancer in the same company and the bad boy to Frankie's innocent. As Frankie and Todd's friendship deepens, they navigate a world of risk - it's the early years of the epidemic - but also a world of hope, humor, visual beauty and musical relief.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 29, 2021 at 11:39 PM