Directed by Gary Huggins, USA, 2006, 20minutes
Source: First Date on Sundance
The black void of the film screen is interrupted with the all too familiar sound of an AOL instant message. The unique lexicon of the Internet rises onto the screen one line at a time.
LuvOlder: 16 m KCK
Kcmuscle: me 38yo 5’9” 160 7.5 uncut
Fade In. As the voiceless dialogue continues to flood the screen, the audience is made aware that we have entered in the middle of a sexual proposition between an older man, kcmuscle, and an underage boy. As the online discussion continues, the audience is privy to the distinction between kcmuscle’s reality and the one he weaves online. He claims to be at his office job, busy with paper work, yet through an overlapping montage we find him wandering aimlessly through the streets and playing arcade games. More important to the plot, kcmuscle claims to have a car that will surprise his young admirer, yet the next 15 minutes of the film finds kcmuscle desperately seeking, through any means possible, a vehicle to pick up his young conquest. Eventually, desperation drives kcmuscle to steal a car after his pleas to borrow a car from friends does not work.
Once he meets LuvOlder, the second and more impressive storyline of the short begins. Unlike the first half, which is overacted and overwritten, the second half delves into psychological realism as we understand what drives this predator, identify with his sexual identity crisis, and discover his troubled past. However, at the same time his actions, his lying, and his misguided reasoning repulse us. This, along with LuvOlder’s slow realization of what he has gotten himself into, is what is interesting to me.
The best scenes of the film are not the action packed sequences, but the subtle moments where kcmuscle’s authentic, disturbing character shines through and we are allowed to see the truth even when he does not. A great example of this is the awkward car ride when kcmuscle and LuvOlder meet in person. Through an extended close up of kcmuscle as he talks and drives, we somehow get into his psyche. The longer he talks, the more the audience is able to see through his lies and deceptions. Further, through LuvOlder’s quiet responses, we witness how the absence of dialogue and what is not said is just as crucial to our understanding of character’s inner thoughts. Again, this is echoed near the end of the piece when kcmuscle escorts LuvOlder back to his front steps yet neither mentions the cop beating. Instead, kcmuscle reiterates he’ll call, they’ll get together again soon, and he knows where LuvOlder lives now. These lines are delivered with an ambiguous tone that displays heartache, longing, and yet is still threatening. As LuvOlder awkwardly scuffles inside, avoiding eye contact with his lover, he delivers few lines of dialogue, yet his thoughts and feelings are apparent.
This movie climaxes with kcmuscle beating a policeman unconscious after the cop discovers him having sex in the stolen car with the kidnapped boy. Gary Huggins then treats his audience to an unexpected and subdued ending that is as intriguing as the novelty of the online banter at the onset of the film. This is a truly fascinating film, and a very timely one as well during an era of television news magazines’ intense focus on online predators.