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The Independent Critic

Ryan Prescott, Frank Ryan and Andy Done Johnson
Paul Cockcroft
Adam Hughes
23 Mins.

 "Gatecrasher" a Thought-Provoking LGBT Short From U.K.  
How far would you go to achieve your dreams?

That's the essential question at the heart of writer Adam Hughes and director Paul Cockcroft's thought-provoking and involving 23-minute short film Gatecrasher, a film that centers around a young actor (Ryan Prescott) whose career isn't particularly going anywhere and who becomes increasingly convinced that an older iconic actor (Frank Ryan) is the only one who can make his career.

As the young actor, Ryan Prescott (Emmerdale) does a nice of building a character who is simultaneously immensely appealing yet anxiety inducing. Thanks to fine writing from Hughes the film doesn't tip its hand, and Prescott creates a character who is compelling despite the overwhelming sensation that he's spiraling into increasingly unhealthy behavior that becomes outright stalking. It might've been easy for Gatecrasher to go over-the-top, but Hughes' script doesn't allow this to happen and, for the most part, avoids the kinds of stereotypes that could potentially sink the film.

Also avoiding stereotypes is Frank Ryan as the actor James Francis. Rather than paint Ryan in the usual broad strokes of a narcissistic and self-serving actor, Ryan's portrayal feels earthy and authentic yet with the appropriate air of an established and successful writer and an icon in the gay community.

To the credit of cast and crew, it's never completely clear where Gatecrasher is going and where it's going to end despite the general familiarity of the story itself. While one might expect a certain elevation of suspense and drama as the stalking intensifies, it's actually more unsettling in this film because there's a sense of normalcy to it all that makes uncomfortable behavior feel comfortable.

Gatecrasher was filmed largely in Bradford in Northern England and received support from the local council and Chamber of Commerce along with Grand Central, City of Film and other local organizations. There's a subtlety to Gatecrasher for which much credit must be given to director Paul Cockcroft. While the film is undeniably both a U.K.-based and LGBT-centered drama, Cockcroft weaves these identifiers beautifully into the fabric of the film and its story rather than having them define the film. This gives the film a strong sense of naturalism that adds to its sense of eerie normalcy.

D.P. James Brown lenses the film quite nicely by giving the film a relaxed intimacy, while the film's production quality is definitely a notch above what one usually finds amongst lower budgeted indie shorts.

The recently completed film is just beginning its festival run, and it will be interesting to watch the film's success on both the indie and LGBT film festival circuit. Both should easily embrace it.

For more information on Gatecrasher, be sure to visit the film's website linked to in the credits on the left. If you get a chance, definitely check it out.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic