a short film by Dan Castle
2002 | 29 mins | Australia
›› The Visitor
an accomplished, if surreal surfing take on life and love.
The Visitor by Dan Castle Six years prior to his coming-of-age ode to surfing that is Newcastle, writer and director Dan Castle could be found riding the crest of a cinematic wave in this accomplished, if somewhat surreal surfing take on life and love.

Playing like a fully-fledged feature, this is the bittersweet story of clumsy, middle aged writer Michael; namely a man who cannot bring himself to face news of the last days of his best friend and Boston based ex lover Chris. Only that's not all he's keen to avoid, as the local youths are playing havoc with his creative mind, in party mood as they head out for a day's surfing. That is apart from CK; a cutie who remains behind to surf local, if prohibited waves and whose good looks remind him of his former partner. Quickly become fixated on the man himself, his close friend and fellow writer Angus is only too aware that Michael's attention lies not Stateside, but rather with the muscular eye-candy out riding the waves. Only what is Michael to do when CK turns up semi-naked on his doorstep, with the look of love in his eyes?

Capturing the critical surfing element of the story in all of its big wave glory, here we find Castle building the tension of his film up nicely, beautifully conveying the shock of a man seemingly about to be served sex on a plate, as CK makes his way from the lush scenery of Sydney's Tamarama Beach, to Michael's living room and eventually onto his bed. Yet not everything is what it appears to be, only to say more would be a spoiler. Suffice to add that this is quality filmmaking, with Nick Carpenter giving a sensitive performance as CK in a work dominated by Barry Otto's emotional expressions, ones that wonderfully convey the anguish of his heart, as the narrative twists and turns Death in Venice fashion, to reveal the bitter home truth of a man still deeply in love.

Well acted, shot and directed throughout, aided by a captivating score, laden with a series of homoerotic moments for the boys and complete with a surreal twist in the tale ending, the result is not only a touching piece, but a gay narrative written refreshingly with a middle-aged character in the central role. It remains quite beautiful, if ultimately tragic.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 
starring: Barry Otto / Michael, Nick Carpenter / CK, Grant Dodwell / Angus
with John Schwarz / Damien, Brett Stiller / Ethan, Damian de Montemas / Luke,
Samuel Atwell / Nathan and Pamela Shaw as the voice of Mary.
"For Brian Cervera, David Augras and Chi Chi."
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #434
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