The other night, I watched Test, a movie about dancers living at the beginning of the aids epidemic. I'm not a gay guy and I was to obliviously young in the eighties to get what was going on then half way across the world from the small Canadian town where I grew up. I can imagine it being pretty scary. Lots of soul searching. Lots of ostritching. I shy away from watching movies about it. Too many of them end in sadness and tragedy.
I watched it finally. Might I say Scott Marlowe shows some mean acting chops even as he demonstrates his beautiful dance moves. The movie showcased his talents in a fantastic balance of story, music and dance by acclaimed U.S. choreographer Sidra Bell.
And Matt Risch, actor first, held his own on the dancing front. I've watched plenty of movies about dancers acted by people who clearly have not dedicated themselves to the craft their whole lives. This is one movie I was never pulled out of because some actor couldn't hold his own on the stage. As the main love interest, Matt's role was an important one to believe, and I did.
The movie follows Scott as he navigates the first frightening bout with aids and HIV scare, being called up from understudy to center stage, and being among the first to be honest about what he's up against just to stay alive.
Small nuances, like listening to Scott's music choices as he navigates the city wearing his trusted yellow Walkman and then having the machine's batteries die, leaving him without his armour of sound as he takes the bus across town to get his test results make this more than just another AIDS movie. It is a beautifully realized piece of art as well as an honest look at the other side of the AIDS dilemma: the one where that shows real people making real life choices about how they are going to go forward, be who they are, love who they love.
And the final scene is not your typical hot bodies hot sex finale. It's much much more than that while being far less dramatic. I have to say that while I seriously contemplated turning this movie off half way through in order to save myself what I was sure was going to turn out to be a tragic and heartbreaking ending, I am infinitely glad I did not. If you want to see a movie about hope and reality in one, this is your chance. Five stars all teh way.