By Cynthia Vera
A heart-warming debut from director Van Grisnven, ‘Sequin in a Blue Room’ is a queer thriller that unfolds itself like a teenage fantasy; a stunning tale of obsession, seduction, and ultimately, loneliness.
Sequin in a Blue Room is a story that follows 16-year old Sequin (Conor Leach), an endearingly mysterious boy who chooses instant sexual satisfaction with older men over meaningful relationships. Though seemingly content with his status of remaining emotionally unavailable and maybe a serious dating app addiction, he is eventually thrown into an irresistible and exciting world which demands him to confront his emotions. A chance encounter with an older man sets him on a thrilling and at times, dangerous mission to hunt down the mystery man. As Sequin dances with danger, the film shifts between a coming-of-age narrative and a thriller. A cat-and-mouse game that blends different genres in a stylish and gripping manner.
Jay Grant’s electric cinematography pulls you in, from the closeups, to the neon lights and fruitful and vibrant colours that seduces you into a deep dream. The Blue Room – an anonymous sex party Sequin attends – is a blue haze mystified with lust and a longing for emotional intimacy; as seen in his interactions with one young man from the Blue Room. The young man is unnamed and untamed, Sequin’s wildest and most intimate daydream. Whilst the stunning visuals of the screen drenched in translucent blue lighting, the use of sound shouldn’t be left on the side lines. The music serenades you with sharp and alluring tones, beautifully embodying the angst, loneliness, and the secrecy of Sequin’s teenage life.
Unflinchingly honest in its representation of queer identity, the film offers a unique and refreshing stand for queer cinema with a protagonist whose sexuality isn’t a personality trait or something to discover – a common structure in queer stories in mainstream cinema. Expectations of `coming out` and ideas of accepting one’s sexuality have always be pigeonholed into a fundamental aspect in the life any LGBTQ+ person, a ritual often disguised as self-discovery.
Here, Van Grinsven offers a refreshing and honest take of someone who isn’t seeking validation, or acceptance for their sexuality. Sequin is comfortable with his queer identity, only facing universal problems that stem from broader ideas of relationships – romantic or otherwise.
Sequin in a Blue Room is a sexy and thrilling coming of age film queering up thriller tropes rooted in both the horrors and joys of relationships and intimacy in a digital world.