Written & Directed by: #OscarSimmons
A sex worker gets cold feet when his first client arrives at the door.
Almost Blue, the new short from Oscar Simmons, is one of those small feats in intimate writing, where almost nothing is said, but so much is conveyed. The opening introduces us to Alik (Daniel Goldfinch Betts), a young first-time sex worker who waits with a worrying look for his first client. When the man (Jamie Richard-Stewart) arrives, there’s an obvious tension in the air. We soon realise this is because it’s also his first time, and the following moments in the scene play out quite beautifully.
As in the title, the film has an almost entirely blue colour palette. The way in which this colour is brought into the frames is quite delightful in its delicate nature. Very soft yellows contrast this and the overall feel of the visual design is stunning. Giulia Bragiotto entices the eye to the performances within this small hotel room space, the subtle lighting only supporting rather than distracting. I admired the clothing, also using shades of blue to enunciate on that feeling of coldness. In terms of the visual — that includes the acting, location and cinematography — this is a truly brilliant achievement, and it’s yet another display of the fine talent coming from universities.
The two performances from the leading men are fantastically stripped back. Not in the sense that they’re lifeless, but the way in which they play off that nervous itch, the unsureness stemming inside themselves. When the film comes to its close, it feels like a connection between the two was born and we as the viewer are left with the thought of what happened next. Two wonderfully restrained and aptly performed characters. As for the writing, most of the focus is placed on the visual. Body language speaks louder than words and when words are spoken, it’s very few.
Featuring original music from Indiekid, o_sci_ and B£NJY, Almost Blue gets the final glossy touch it needed. There’s a lot of subtlety throughout the film, but when the credits kick in after that superb final scene, you can’t help but sense that feeling of fulfilment. If there’s one thing that could be a detriment to the otherwise solid work on this production, it would be the sound recording. A lot of the dialogue after the first couple minutes could use some ADR, which is expected from any film, especially on this scale. But otherwise, Almost Blue is a charming short, gleaming with alluring performances and soft visuals.
Almost Blue screens as part of the BFI Future Film Festival from 18-21 February, free on BFI Player: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-almost-blue-2020-online