New this week on digital release, is Australian coming-of-age thriller, Sequin in a Blue Room. The movie – directed by Samuel Van Grinsven – stars Conor Leach, Simon Croker, and Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, and follows the story of a 16-year-old who gets in over his head while using hook-up Apps.
In the movie, Sequin is young, confident, and sexually active. He frequently uses an App to meet up with men, where he enjoys no strings attached, one-night stands, at his convenience.
Using the Apps has become somewhat of an addiction, but Sequin doesn’t see it this way and instead move his way through life finding fleeting moments of enjoyment while remaining in control of his body. He sticks to a rule of never meeting the same guy twice, and for a time this suits him well, as he balances home life, and school life, with his night time encounters.
One day, while scrolling through his phone in class, Sequin receives a notification inviting him to a group hook-up, at a venue known as the Blue Room. Few details are given about the Blue Room, but the anonymous nature of the invite suits Sequin fine.
Feeling ready to take things to the next level, Sequin pays the Blue Room a visit. But he soon meets a boy who changes his outlook on one-night stands and this sets him off on a journey of self-discovery, which takes a worryingly dark turn.
Sequin in a Blue Room arrives in the UK and Ireland today, via a multitude of platforms including Amazon, Sky Store, Apple TV, and Peccadillo Pictures on Demand. The movie is currently available to buy as a digital release, with the DVD and Blu-ray editions hitting stores next month.
If this slice of queer cinema sounds vaguely familiar, it is because this film made its debut in 2019, after receiving its international premiere at Outfest. Since then, various parts of the world have been waiting for the movie to show up in their territory, having already heard a positive buzz about the picture.
And the positive buzz is earned, because Sequin in a Blue Room is a captivating piece of independent Aussie cinema, which explores the highs and lows of living in an age where sex can be arranged at the touch of a button. A convenience which can bring empowerment, but also danger.
Sequin walks a very fine line in the movie, and his journey opens up an interesting and important conversation about sexual awakening and the way in which Apps have eroded certain stages of adulthood. He scrolls through his phone, often detached from a situation, and this is something that each new generation is becoming more familiar with.
Admit it: We are all logged on, but that doesn’t mean we are all engaged. Conversations between faceless avatars has become the norm, resulting in interactions that are sometimes forgettable.
While we might not all be using our phones for sex, the subject matter in this movie is very reflective of the life many of us lead in our modern, tech-enhanced world. And anyone who has ever used a dating App will know, there are plenty of times when you’re not paying much attention to the person you’re speaking to, and vice versa.
In most cases, a slight detachment online doesn’t cause too many problems, but for Sequin this has become a way of life. He goes online to make short connections, free of any complications or attachments, but this doesn’t prepare him for situations which deviate from his chosen path.
This is where the movie really hits its stride – when Sequin makes a connection with another guy, who isn’t just a faceless avatar. Is the connection mutual, or is it just a fantasy? That’s for Sequin to find out, but as he moves away from the path he has created for himself, he enters uncharted territory which creates problems he is not quite ready for.
Sequin in a Blue Room doesn’t pull any punches in its approach to sex or relationships. It throws the spotlight on hook-up culture, to explore all of its facets, and this means covering some explicit content and scenes of violence.
It doesn’t tell the audience that Sequin is wrong in his approach to sex, nor does it say he is right; what it does is show the grey area of his choices. It also demonstrates that with Apps being available to all, that some users might be taking steps they are not quite ready for.
But this doesn’t mean this film is about lambasting modern technology. It’s important to remember that teens entering adulthood, especially amongst the queer community, have been finding ways to explore their sexual identity for years, it’s only now that this involves Apps.
This is a movie, in which the real emphasis is on inexperience and trying to grow too quickly. It is about thinking you know everything and are always in control, when in reality this is never quite the case.
Sequin in a Blue Room is also a very stylish, very slick, very lean movie. It tells a story within 80 minutes, with a minimal cast, yet gets to the heart of its message with ease, providing a satisfactory conclusion in the process.
This is a solid piece of queer cinema. It’s bold, it’s interesting, and like some of the men in the movie, it is available at the touch of a button.