TIFF Next Wave 2020: Our Review of ‘Sequin in a Blue Room’

TIFF Next Wave 2020: Our Review of ‘Sequin in a Blue Room’

16-year-old Sequin (Conor Leach) meets anonymous men in hookup apps. Some of these hookups feel surprise when he responds, since he’s young and these guys are older. Afterwards, he tells men like B (Ed Wightman) that he doesn’t like seeing men twice.

This polished film school project then follows Sequin as he goes to a Blue Room, a sex party that changes location. He’s both aloof and desirable until he meets someone his age who he does want to see outside the party.

Sequin balances a sex life with high school, where another boy catches his eye. After hooking up with in the school bathroom, this other boy invites him to watch a movie. Sequin tries to choose between him and the guy at the party.

Samuel Van Grisneven adds too much plot machinations to his feature, adding a thriller aspect to Sequin’s quest. He has to find the next blue room and the way he does it makes audiences lose sympathy for him.

There are also unanswered questions about the queer community in Sydney, Australia. Questions like how do people 7km away find Sequin, and vice versa. Why do their hookups not care about sleeping with a child, or worry that he’s turning into a sociopath?

As I said before, this feature has some polish but that’s only during the initial scenes. Later ones rely on strobe lighting, as if that’s supposed to cover up the fact that this story goes nowhere. It’s also really frustrating when the sound effects are louder than the dialogue.

Leach is good here. Many of his scenes involve him looking at a phone – those Gen-Xers, am I right – and make that seem compelling. I’m looking forward to watching him in a feature that actually has something to say about real, emotional complexities.

For more information on Sequin in a Blue Room go to https://tiff.net/events/sequin-in-a-blue-room.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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