[FILM REVIEW] - WASP (2015)
Stars; Simon Haycock, Elly Condron, Hugo Bolton
Director; Philippe Audi-Dor
Writer; Philippe Audi-Dor
Running Time; 72 minutes
James and Olivier's romantic getaway to the South of France is interrupted by chance meeting with Caroline, James' friend from his University days. On hearing that she had just broken up with her long term boyfriend James invites Caroline to stay with him and Olivier in an effort to cheer her up. Tensions arise however when Caroline develops an interest in Olivier who soon finds himself infatuated with her, forcing to question his feelings for James and his own sexuality.
Philippe Audi-Dor's first feature film is a story of troubled relationships and questioning identity contained within a pressure cooker-like emotional three way that looks set to blow under the strain of too much heat. This anticipation, that something is about to give or blow as a result of the tense build up is what keeps viewer attention. Audi-Dor builds and maintains it well making good use of the natural chemistry between Simon Haycock as the somewhat reserved Olivier and Elly Condron's playful Caroline. Unlike other films of this ilk that deal with illicit love, the reason behind Olivier's attraction to Caroline is somewhat deliberately ambiguous, leaving one unsure as to whether it is symptomatic of his troubled relationship with James or uncertainty about his sexuality. In this, Audi-Dor the writer poses the question of whether attraction has anything to do with sexuality. This adds further intrigue to a film in which not much appears to happen.
There are scenes of sightseeing, drinking, and intense conversations, interspersed with some beautifully shot sights of Provence. By far the most intense moments leading up to the climax have to be Olivier demanding sex from James during which he thinks only of Caroline, and the very awkward drive home between Olivier and Caroline. Audi-Dor really knows how to set a tone, and the scene for what follows, from the opening shots of lavender fields being pollinated with the increasing volume of chirping crickets, to James' slow awakening. Then there is the Wasp of the film's title ever present, leaving the viewer wondering what role it is likely to play in the proceedings. These help keep that all important viewer attention for Audi-Dor's delving into his characters' complexities.
The question of whether attraction transcends sexuality is not a new one and has been addressed in film and television previously. What we get with "Wasp" is an exercise in perception as one character observes "people see what they want to see" and that is certainly true of Olivier and James, and Caroline. Bit by bit feelings and motivations are slowly revealed continuously challenging character and viewer perceptions all the way to the end which leaves one with still more questions. What you come away with is an insightful dramatic play about how regardless of sexuality all relationships are plagued by the same things; insecurity, self-doubt, and jealousy, an emotionally explosive cocktail. The performances of the three actors are so spot on they bring these compelling traits to the fore.
"Wasp" a beautifully filmed movie making good use of its captivating South of France locations, calming and picturesque in direct contrast to fanning of the characters' emotional embers. The performances from the film's trio are emotionally charged and engaging with Elly Condron exuding subtle sexual chemistry as well as vulnerability in what is quite a troubled character. Simon Haycock and Hugo Bolton are charming as the young couple in love and manage to convey with ease each of their gradual realisation as to the truth of their relationship. Solid performances with fantastic scenery will make for a worthy addition at the Raindance Film Festival.
WASP will screen again at the Raindance Film Festival on Wednesday 30th September and will be available on DVD from 28th September 2015.