Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 20th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: USA, September 22, 2012 (Arizona Underground Film Festival)
Production Companies: Kinetic Arts / Farraj Factory / Blithe Stargazer
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Director: Michael Melamedoff
Writer: Michael Edison Hayden
Cinematographer: Robbie Renfrow
Composer: Teddy Blanks
Cast: Richard Short, Pepper Binkley, Ella Rae Peck, Mike Doyle, Lauren Hodges, Daniel London, Laverne Cox
Synopsis: A documentary filmmaker throws a New Year’s Eve party for his closest friends. Unknown to them he has invited them over to be part of his latest project. This involves getting them to reveal their darkest secrets and deepest desires.
We live in a world in which decadent behavior is celebrated and there is no news unless something tragic has occurred. Good behavior and uplifting stories far too often go unnoticed. Even when it comes to the world of entertainment novices are thrust into the spotlight despite the fact that they have marginal or no talent. Nowhere is this more evident than in reality television.
So how do these things tie in with the story that unfolds in The Exhibitionists? The cast of characters is primarily made up of everyday men and women whose ordinary lives have repressed their innermost desires. When the chance finally arrives for each of them to shine in the spotlight every one leaps into the deep end of the pool without hesitation.
The trigger for such reckless behavior comes from a loaded gun in the hands of a washed up pop star named Blithe Stargazer (imagine a cross between Madonna and Lady Gaga). Her actions provide the catalyst to produce the desired reactions from these unwilling stars of a reality based documentary. Unfortunately for our filmmaker things are not what they seem and he soon learns that actions have consequences.
Structurally the film does a superb job setting up the characters and their motivations. Once all the main players are established, pacing is never an issue. Visually the film takes full advantage of its primary location, an apartment where everyone has gathered for a New Years Eve party. This is not a film that relies on static shots and the cinematography is always inventive and stylish. Editing and musical choices are often flawlessly merged with juxtaposition of imagery.
Without a doubt the most surprising area of this production is just how great the performances of the entire cast are, especially Richard Short in the role of Walter Todd. Another performance of note is Laverne Cox as Blithe Stargazer. It should not go without saying that scenes in which these two actors and their characters interact are easily the moments that resonate the most.
Perversion and tragedy have served as the foundation of many works of art throughout the annals of history. These familiar themes are given a modern spin that in the end does not lessen their potency.
Note: For more information about this film go here.