a short film by Alan Brown
2002 | 29 mins | US
›› O Beautiful
the ugly face of sexual prejudice.
O Beautiful by Alan Brown Some works are not easy to watch. Only not on account of poor production values and the like. Rather by way of the film in question detailing the ugly face of sexual prejudice and its brutal, if not fatal consequences. And suffice to say that here writer and director Alan Brown does not hold back from depicting hate crime in all of its graphic reality, as the physical and emotional aftermath of one such horrific attack is laid bare for all to see.

For gay boy Brad has been left for dead in the middle of a corn field; naked, sexually abused and bleeding, the victim of yet another queer bashing in the land of the O Beautiful free. Desperate to somehow get out alive, his worst fears are realized when he sees the trainers of one of the men responsible for his bloody beating make an unwelcome return in his direction. Only things are not what they appear to be. For high school jock Andy is not intent on starting up where he left off. Rather this is a man with a conscience, having returned filled with remorse in a Christian bid to somehow make things right. But just how do you go about righting such a hideous act?

For that is the crux of the matter, one that sees Brown take the viewer on a journey that includes many a surprising, if at times awkward twist and turn, as personal details, religious backgrounds and sexual orientations mix with lies and regret. Only in delivering a character driven piece, Brown has cast traditional editing to the wind and for the main part, presented his short film split-screen fashion. It is a technique that no doubt will be creative to some and downright irritating to others. What it does allow however, are the facial expressions of both actors to be on view throughout, theatre style, with Jay Gillespie of WTC View credit giving a remarkably poignant portrayal of Brad, his look of sheer terror as David Clayton Rogers makes his return as Andy, vividly setting the stage for the two-way conversation of the piece.

Not an easy film to watch by any means, given attacks of this nature seldom arrive with a conscience to be found. But like such features as Beyond Hatred, The Laramie Project and The Matthew Shepard Story, it cinematically sets out to shine the spotlight on such heinous criminal acts. And for that Brown is to be applauded.
available on DVD as part of the Strand Releasing catalogue - 'Boys Life 4' release.
starring: Jay Gillespie as Brad and David Clayton Rogers as Andy.
Copyright 2010 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #277
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