a short film by Max Clendaniel and Christian Martin
2012 | 12 mins | UK
›› Contracted
a sweeping swipe at the infamous celluloid closet.
Contracted by Max Clendaniel and Christian Martin You can't keep a good man down and Britain's most prolific gay filmmakers are at it again, in this instance taking a sweeping swipe at the infamous celluloid closet and the lavender marriages that were and depending upon your point of view, still lie concealed deep within it.

Not that there's anything "officially gay" about James and Anna; stars of the blockbuster Earth Defenders and the latest Hollywood golden couple set to showcase their devotion to each other on live television, for everyone to see. Yet it is but a sham, contracted as they are to providing the studio with a sound heterosexual return on their financial investment. Only with James' headstrong agent Mr K all too aware that his client is up to his gay ways again, is this contract set to be tested to breaking point?

Contracted by Max Clendaniel and Christian Martin Lovingly keeping it within the family and here cue cast regulars Garry Summers and Bernie Hodges of Shank / Release fame, this well-executed work shows the casting closet for what it is, that of A-listers who appear straight to the world, that is when not hidden from view in bed with their boyfriend. It is a situation that has been told many times over, in both narrative and biopic forms, but never with the frankness of the Bonne Idée boys. For this is a short with a bite to it, courtesy of a telling script from screenwriters Alice Charman and man of many talents Christian Martin, who when not lashing out at the hypocrisy of Hollywood, can be found putting journalists in their place, by way of a cutting turn of phrase that will no doubt ring true to many a witness currently giving testament in the Leveson Inquiry.

Only and in as much as Garry Summers excels as the foul-mouthed agent with a lot to lose, it is John Mason and the beautiful Eleanor Gecks who as the pretend couple give the short its bittersweet edge, both putting in fine performances, with Mason previously seen in Jack O'Dowd and Christian Martin's award-winning HIV awareness piece, that is F**KED. The result is a work that is a pure delight from start to finish, contrasting the prevarication of the act itself with a string of comical, if at times poignant lines. Although as to just how much truth there is to a tale that revolves around Hollywood marriages that are as fake as green screen styled sets, well what is clear is that the boys carry the theme of a sexuality legally tied to signatures on the dotted line, right through to the end credits. Totally entertaining, if perhaps too close to home for some.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - mainly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 
starring: Eleanor Gecks / Anna, John Mason / James, Garry Summers / Mr K, Anna Gallagher / Lucy,
Simon Cook / Agent and Bernie Hodges as Jason Status.
with: Tom Byne, Bobby Iddon and Freddie Dan as the Rent Boys.
official website:
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #452
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