Thursday, September 24, 2015

Raindance: Wasp (2015)

When Oliver (Simon Haycock) brings James (Hugo Bolton) to his family’s holiday villa in the South of France, his hopes for a secluded romantic trip are thwarted by the addition of James’ friend Caroline (Elly Condron).  Recently splitting up from her own boyfriend, Caroline begins to turn her attention to Oliver and the dynamic of the holiday begins to change…

At its core, Wasp is about the importance of glances and non-verbal communication over dialogue.  The increasingly strained connection between James and Oliver, and the bourgeoning allegiance between Oliver and Caroline, mostly begins with eye contact (or lack of it).  This intention is probably why the dialogue of the film is less refined than the visuals.  Why do indie LGBT films always have to have a scene where characters analyse what it means to be gay…?  Yet as the film (and I imagine, the shoot) moves on, the dialogue becomes more natural and confident.

In between scenes, the camera constantly returns to close-ups of wasps.  At first an apparent metaphor for Caroline’s unexpected presence in the couples’ holiday, but quickly they seem to highlight a general unease and irritation in the house – a house that is becoming increasingly more oppressive.  Especially the ice-cold pool…

Whereas Oliver has a confidence and seriousness about him and is more at fault for the tension in the house, it is James who the camera lingers on for longest as he begins to doubt his two friends.  And it is James’ whose emerges as the most interesting performance.

Yet ultimately, it is undeniably the actions and sexual desires of the woman that disrupt the narrative, which is a welcome role-reversal, even for a gay love story.

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