H-m-m-m…Just when I was considering emerging out from between my rusty guillotine and my bloodied Kander and Ebb dolls and attempting the dating scene again, I watch director-writer Matt Doyle’s potent Chasing Pavement.
Detailing a few days in the life of Elijah (Remy Mars), an African American bareback porn star and escort, as he contemplates the possibilities of several new relationships, Chasing Pavement keenly examines both the loneliness and the resiliency of the human condition.
After being left in the lurch by a vengeful roommate, Elijah decides to rent his spare bedroom to Takeshi, a kindly employee at his favorite takeout palace. Trying to secure a firmer foothold in this country, the shy Takeshi soon finds himself inundated in Elijah’s existence, ultimately bringing a sweeter variation on Robert Altman’s Three Women to the piece.
Meanwhile, Elijah finds himself drawn to Bryson (Antonio Biaggi), one of his macho clients. But a friendly dinner party soon brings everything into sharp focus. As secrets are revealed, Elijah may, abruptly, find himself alone, once more.
While definitely a conversationally philosophical affair, Doyle often lets tender moments of silence inhabit this world, as well. He, also, brings a surprising sensitivity to Elijah’s seemingly sordid profession, and, finely, invents a very full world for gay characters of color, a rarity in cinema.
Nicely, competent performances are eked out from everyone involved, with particular kudos going to Tokio Sasaki. Sasaki’s quiet Takeshi brims with hushed layers, making this character a truly endearing one. Here, he and Doyle (and the others) prove that it is our own fears and insecurities (and lost dreams) that are often the scariest things to face up to in this winding roller coaster called life.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!