Truth and Movies

Sequin in a Blue Room

Review by David Jenkins @daveyjenkins

Directed by

Samuel Van Grinsven

Starring

Conor Leach Jeremy Lindsay Taylor Simon Croker

Anticipation.

Odd title, and the lead looks like a young Eddie Redmayne.

Enjoyment.

Beautifully made, original and focused. Van Grinsven is one to watch.

In Retrospect.

The film achieves so much on a low budget through subtle formal innovation.

There’s a touch of Gregg Araki about this formally ambitious LGBT+ drama about sex in the digital age.

Don’t sleep on this fast-paced and thematically juicy Australian indie by debut director Samuel Van Grinsven, which sees a bored 16-year-old schoolboy (Conor Leach) live out a double life as a gay hustler whose online avatar is Sequin.

Announced in the credits as ‘A Homosexual Film’, in a nod to iconic queer director Gregg Araki, Sequin in a Blue Room plunges us straight into a world of mobile app-powered sexual hook-ups, as our supremely confident protagonist locks down a no-strings sexual liaison in a matter of seconds.

We learn, however, that his preferred modus operandi is one based on ghosting, where each client is a one-and-done affair and their profiles are blocked as soon as the clinch is over. This leaves many (mainly older) men disappointed and confused, but allows Sequin to remain in total, emotion-free command of his sexual destiny.

Van Grinsven depicts the various online interactions with scrolling text that appears on the screen, but does so in a way that is stylistically functional – emphasising the transactional nature of Sequin’s lifestyle and expunging it of any kind of fun or glamour. The whole film is shot with a glassy precision, employing lots of shallow focus portraits of bodies in close-up, and much gauzy blue and purple neon light to signify a world of hazy enigmas just sitting in the middle distance.

The “Blue Room” of the title is the name of a surreal sex party to which Sequin manages to snag an invite. It’s a space where nude men writhe in orgasmic pleasure behind semi-transparent tarpaulin sheets and no one is allowed to utter a word. Sequin falls in with a mystery partner and, suddenly, his listless, production-line approach to relationships doesn’t seem so ideal any more.

As quickly as the party starts, it’s over, and Sequin finds himself in the same position as the men he rejected who are desperate for another taste. What starts as an alternative high-school film about how the digital world collapses the gap between generations, ends up as an effective thriller about lust getting the better of us in the end.

Leach is magnetic and illusive in the lead, and Van Grinsven brings this spicy story together in a way which is at once compelling as a genre film and sex-positive as a study of social mores.

Sequin in a Blue Room is released via Peccadillo Pictures on digital platforms from 9 April.

Published 7 Apr 2021

Tags: LGBT+ Queer Cinema Samuel Van Grinsven Sequin in a Blue Room

Anticipation.

Odd title, and the lead looks like a young Eddie Redmayne.

Enjoyment.

Beautifully made, original and focused. Van Grinsven is one to watch.

In Retrospect.

The film achieves so much on a low budget through subtle formal innovation.

Suggested For You

No Hard Feelings

By Emily Maskell

Queer romance blossoms in this tactful tale of migrant identity from first-time director Faraz Shariat.

review LWLies Recommends

Trauma and catharsis in Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin

By Logan Kenny

The film shows the everyday agonies of existing as queer and dealing with trauma in an apathetic world.

Justine

By Emily Maskell

Jamie Patterson’s latest sees a young woman battling addiction find redemption through queer love.

review

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design