Starring: Khalid Karim, Stephen Huszar, Christopher Jacot, Sabryn Rock, Christine Horne
Director: Robert W. Gray
In this strange but weirdly compelling movie about our darkest desires, Aaron (Karim) is approached by his best friend (Huszar) to do something incredibly strange. His friend is remarkably handsome and been plagued his entire life by others’ obsession with his looks. In an attempt to make people stop objectifying him, he believes that if he gives them what they want, their attitude toward him will change. So, he has invited everyone he knows to have a timetabled slot with his unconscious body, during which they can do whatever they like with him. Aaron’s job is to facilitate their timetable, keep his friend clean and maintain the sleeping man’s safety, observing on CCTV, concealed behind a screen.
Though not everyone takes him up on his invitation, many do, from colleagues to gym buddies to close friends, of all genders and all ages. With each meeting, we see glimpses of the relationships they have in real life, only for facades to be stripped away as they are left unattended with the naked sleeping body.
This covers some pretty contentious territory, particularly with its question of what equates consent, but that is unequivocally the point. Allowing people to realise their fantasies without any real control is like taking the buffers off conventional morality, especially because the object of their affection has agreed to let them do as they please. At one moment, Aaron interrupts a woman trying to defecate on his chest just because she can, protesting that it is him who will have to clear up after her. But, she argues, he has consented to this and it’s her right to do so.
For the most part, the film does not reveal this god-like man’s face, or even his name. If the film had maintained this throughout – like never seeing the evil being in The Blair Witch Project – this would probably have been all the more effective, allowing our imagination to fill in the blanks and create our own Ultimate Fantasy. But we do eventually see his face, which ends up being a bit of a let-down; not because he isn’t handsome, but because the sheer level of hype that has come before means that nobody could ever live up to our expectations. It’s like trying to cast someone as Helen of Troy or Dorian Gray – nobody is ever good enough for the label “The Most Beautiful Person In The World”.
The final act deals with Aaron’s own feelings toward his friend, as he is decidedly under his spell too. But as the film concludes and the Adonis has followed through on his promise, you can’t help but wonder “what happens now”. It’s easy to see the film’s message – which has been imparted with real artistic flare, adeptly capturing the essence of lust and desire – but narratively, it’s hard to fit this episode within any reality for these characters. It feels like a fable over truth. But again, maybe that’s the point.
UK Release: Out NOW to watch On Demand on Dekkoo.