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With her low-budget feature debut, British director Lois Stevenson gives us a tonally unsteady film: it’s unsure whether to be a sturdy naturalistic coming-out drama about a twentysomething man forging his LGBTQ identity, or a weirded-out Kenneth Anger-style dive into queer subculture.
Screenwriters Jamie Bacon and Charles Streeter double up duties to act the lead roles. In creaky office scenes, Bacon plays mousy Daniel, an entry level City worker uncomfortable with the advances of his boss, who’s eyeing him up as his wingman in hard drinking and everyday sexism. Daniel is also avoiding calls from his dad, who leaves apologetic, bridge-building messages. What emerges in flashbacks is a terrible childhood memory: his father exploding with rage at Daniel dressing up in girl’s clothes. For years, Daniel has been bottling up his feelings, until a mate takes him to Brixton gay club Lost and Found, where he meets drag queen Jennifer (Streeter).
Weirdly, the script coyly glosses over their sexual encounter. All the big moments here – the conflicts and confrontations – happen either off screen or glimpsed at in stylised two-second snatches, shot with heightened imagery and sound. What’s missing is emotional depth or weight; none of the characters is satisfyingly backstoried. Saying that, there is a lovely moment as Daniel steps out of the house for the first time dressed to the nines in sequins, everything wobbling – from his nerves to his eight-inch stilettos. I was less sold on the nightmarish hallucinatory scene that follows at the club as he purges his shame and humiliation once and for all. Some original ideas here but a frustrating lack of substance.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Into the Mirror review – conflicted coming-out story reflects badly | Film