OUTFEST 2008 Film Review: Clapham Junction

 

Richard Lintern & Stuart Bunce in "Clapham Junction"

In a beautiful mansion somewhere in south London, Gavin (Stuart Bunce) and Will (Richard Lintern) are getting married. Alfie (David Leon) is a waiter at the reception that Will wastes no time hitting on once he was kissed the groom and the champagne begins to flow. Momentarily cornered and lustful, Alfie resists and eventually lands at a local bar, where another guy Terry (Paul Nicholls), immediately begins to hit on him. Terry he resists with ease. Alfie’s instincts about Terry are good ones, because later that night the man brutally beats and urinated on the guy he did go home with that night.

Fourteen-year-old Theo (Luke Treadaway) is waiting for his parents to go to their dinner party. There is a man he is interested in whom he has seen at the library. The man whom he has been watching and masturbating to who lives across the street.

Joseph Mawle (r) in "Clapham Junction"

The man who dropped his pen today, finally giving Theo the reason to speak to him, meet him, and perhaps satisfy his queer curiosity. The man is named Tim (Joseph Mawle) who, unbeknownst to Theo, is rumored to be a pedophile. Theo only knows he wants this man.

Robin (Rupert Graves) is a screenwriter. Still smarting from the latest rejection of a gay theme film, he visits a public bathroom where he is flashed and silently propositioned by another man. Their encounter is interrupted by two unexpected visitors. Robin finishes his business and continues on his way to a dinner party where he runs into the potential hook-up from the bathroom. Married Julian (James Wilby) and wife Marion (Samantha Bond) are also guests at the home of Belinda (Rachael Blake) & Roger Cowan (Tom Beard).

And all these worlds collide, in the course of one day, by way of a murder and a wedding ring.

David Leon as Alfie in "Clapham Junction"

Clapham Junction plays very much like “ ‘Crash’ for Queers” in that it is an intricately spun tale that is shocking, heartbreaking and ironic. Inspired by the real life gay-bashing and murder of Jody Dobrowski, a 24-year old Bar manager in Clapham Common, London, the film is a mirror about the duplicity of human nature. Kevin Elyot’s script examines people’s prejudices, and how and why these prejudices surface in people who don’t think that have any. Moreover, this film emphasizes that for people who share race or gender or sexual orientation, the degrees of separation tends to be far less than six.

The production elements of this film are outstanding across the board. Every actor in this ensemble performed with intensity and honesty and clarity. Every character in this film is interesting. The textures and lines of the production design were the perfect compliment to the Tony Slater-Ling’s super-saturated cinematography. The touch of the grime and the feel of the heat are as tangible for the audience as they are for the characters on screen. Martin Phipps’ anxious violin-laced score endow the film with layered tones of elegance and urgency. This is an extremely well-crafted film. Beautiful. Smart. Entertaining. Provocative. Bravo to director Adrian Shergold for balancing all these delicate, mature themes and fine cinematic elements with such a deft hand.

Clapham Junction is part of the International Dramatic Features series of OUTFEST 2008 currently running through July 21st at the Director’s Guild of America, Regency Fairfax at Beverly and other surround venues.

For more information please call 213.480.7065.

www.outfest.org

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