★★★★ | Eastsiders

Cal and Thom are both in their late 20s and been together for 4 years as a couple in Silverlake California, when their relationship is severely tested after Cal discovers that Thom has been cheating on him with Jeremy.

As they explore the consequences of how this infidelity will effect them there is a great deal of anger and pain as they try to work through the angst, for what is best for both of them.

Thom is an aspiring writer and Jeremy is one of the handful of people who turned up his poetry reading and stayed on for a private session afterwards. This handsome young man not only gives Thom the admiration for both his work and his personality that he craves, but he also demands little in return which Thom finds a refreshing change from a hyper analytical Cal who dissects every nuance of their life together to the point of distraction.

Cal is a budding photographer who works as a receptionist in a Gallery to pay his share of the rent. He also is quite partial to a drink or two and seems to constantly knock back a whole bottle of whiskey before he feels able to tackle anything and everything that upsets him. On one such occasion he goes to confront his ‘rival’ Jeremy. The one Thom cheated with, and the two men get drunk together and end up in bed which, come next morning, is another thing that Cal will bitterly regret.

Cal constantly turns to his best friend Kathy every time he is having another meltdown but she has her own problems, including an unplanned pregnancy by her boyfriend, Ian, with whom she is petrified at making a commitment with.

Amid all the drunken outbursts that seem to permeate throughout this intriguing dark comedy about the sad and funny mess that this tight wee group of LA folk seem to make of their lives, we are never sure if any of their slightly precarious relationships will survive. With Cal and Thom it is essentially a case of whether the lies tear them apart or if they are just stubborn enough to stay together for ever.

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Written, directed and produced by Kit Williamson, who also played the neurotic Cal, this whole story started out as a Web Series in December 2012. Appropriately the first episode was about an ‘End of The World Party’ ostensibly as it takes place on the day of the supposed Mayan apocalypse, but it ends up taking on a totally different meaning for Cal after Thom drops his bombshell. The first few episodes soon attracted a great deal of attention and a Kickstarter campaign to fund the filming for the rest of the series before it was picked up by LogoTV to run on their website.

The impressive and somewhat surprising thing about all the episodes being joined together now is that there is a such a remarkable fluidity with all the individual scenes that the plot flows seamlessly into one very absorbing whole movie. What’s even more compelling is that Williamson has very successfully created an edgy and intense dramatic comedy that shows a slice of contemporary gay life in L.A., which refreshingly does not just focus on his characters sexual orientations as his major plot point.

He shares credit for the success with the talented cast that he assembled which included Van Hansis (‘One Life to Live’) playing Thom, Constance Wu (‘Stephanie Daley’) as Kathy, John Halbach (‘Wallflower’ TV Series) as Kathy’s boyfriend Ian, and Matthew McKelligon (‘Interior Leather Bar’) as Jeremy ‘the other man’. Mr Williamson himself has an impressive resume which includes playing Ed on TV’s Mad Men.

Watching this won’t make you want to move to Silverlake or crack open a bottle of whisky, but it will intrigue you enough to want to see how the story continues if and when there is another series/movie.