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Friday, February 23, 2024

Film review: Entropic is more than skin deep

In R.W. Gray's first feature film, adapted from his short story of the same name, sex may sell, but it doesn't help the story.

Walking the line between a Black Mirror episode and a Baby Blue late-night skin flick, New Brunswick filmmaker R.W. Gray’s first feature, Entropic, leaves as many questions unanswered after its 80 minutes as it answers. While not necessarily a bad thing, those who want their narratives wrapped up with a bow might want to steer clear.

Khalid Klein does the heavy lifting as Aaron, with affection and care for his character bordering on obsessiveness. Were it not for Klein’s nuanced performance, the film could have easily teetered into eye-rolling silliness but instead forces audiences to alternately ask why and for who he has agreed to participate in this experiment.

Without giving too much of the plot away, M asks Aaron to watch over an experiment of sorts where M allows people close to him to spend 40 uninterrupted minutes to get their anger out, their feelings shared or their rocks off. Aaron is there to ensure things do not go sideways as M is unconscious through it all. The few boundaries include an explicit “don’t hurt his body” protocol as well as the signing of an NDA.

As writer and director, Gray has much to say about beauty, but not all of it passes muster. With everything going on in the world right now, do we need to ponder how difficult life can be for an attractive white man? To Gray’s credit, he does balance the heavily Caucasian cast somewhat by a rainbow of faces.

Ultimately Entropic succeeds by forcing audiences to ask themselves, who would I invite to such an event? Would anyone show up? And what would they have to say to me?

While Gray hones in on the beauty aspect, the moments that truly succeed are those where M’s attractiveness is not the primary focus. Scenes where people truly loved or despised M are relatable for the viewer, making them that much more intriguing.

Unfortunately, those moments are overshadowed by scene after scene of orgasm faces and toe sucking. Sex may sell, but it doesn’t help the story.

Entropic is now available for rent or purchase on a variety of online cinema retailer platforms.

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