Test

Chris Mason Johnson
Peccadillo Pictures

Set in 1985 against the quickly changing, cultural mecca of San Francisco, Test explores the life of a young, gay, modern dancer within the early, terse days of the AIDS epidemic. Shot with harsh angles and unrelenting edits reminiscent of reality TV, there are no frills to this production. Mason Johnson’s Test  is a bleak film that is, at its heart, a slave to the unwitting attitude of its lead Frankie (Scott Marlowe).

As the reality of the virus spreading throughout the city comes to the fore, Frankie finds himself immersed in the increasing successes of his dance career. Despite the honest portrayal of not only gay life in the 1980s, but the 1980s themselves, Test stumbles as both leads lack any real depth as they saunter through otherwise nerve-wracking life or death scenarios, whilst feigning interest.

Far from being the fault of the writing, the acting and direction causes Frankie and protagonist Todd (Matthew Risch) to lack conviction in the dire times of homophobia they are living in. Not entirely gripping as a film, but an important documentation of a period of gay social history.

Kyle Bryony