Test (2013) Poster

(I) (2013)

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Tasteful story with beautiful ballet!
c-smith17762 October 2014
If you love lean, topless, white, men in their prime dancing ballet then this movie is for you!

The plot is simple and straightforward and has been told before. Thus, it's the delivery of the story that I think is fair to criticize.

The characters of the movie did a convincing job capturing the deep fear and dread that many people still have about HIV/AIDS and the unknown.

The plot moves along in a beautiful "slice of life" style of narrative. You get to see Scott Marlowe's character go through the anxiety and even horror of possibly getting a disease that just murdered Rock Hudson. Everyone else is so afraid and in panic of this new mysterious disease strongly associated with gay men that it sparks an acute wave of homophobia. You see "die faggot" spray painted casually and menacingly on a mattress on the side of the street. You worry if you can get it from sweat. You try to find out if you can tell who has it just by looking at their appearance. The paranoia builds and unfortunately the stigma of HIV/AIDS is still as strong and relevant today.

A subplot develops as the gay protagonist tries to also dance like a man as harshly instructed by his fastidious jerk of a choreographer.

My only negative criticism I think and room for improvement is found in nearly all gay films. It's a movie about cisgender white men. Forget drag queens, trans-gendered people, and more importantly people of ethnic minorities and how it was nearly impossible to get help without interacting with those other marginalized groups. This is another gay film that beautifully annihilated reality by believing that white men are the default human beings.

Overall though, if you're into looking at white men dance naked and have gay sex with each in a tasteful movie with a decent plot then give this movie a try!
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typical mid-80s gay movie with good acting and directing
soknivesout16 February 2014
without high expectations, you can have good time with this movie. direction is nice, and atmosphere is cool. san francisco gay scene looks nice, but i don't feel enough paranoia to empathize with characters. it feels like movie tries to tell aids crisis, and how people felt its burden on their shoulders but you end up watching almost 20 minutes of gay ballet/dancing scenes over and over again.

cinematography is classy. amateur looking actors are doing very well jobs. not the best gay themed movie of the year (that one is stranger by the lake for sure) or aids/HIV movie (and that one is dallas buyers club) but still very enjoyable experience. director chris mason johnson will probably make better movies than this one.
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Queer cinema still matters
lasttimeisaw29 June 2015
TEST is director/writer Chris Mason Johnson's second feature, sets in San Francisco, 1985, in the wake of the AIDS epidemic, Frankie (Marlowe) is a young dancer in a dancer company, currently a stand-in for a modern dance project called AFTER DARK. The film surprisingly chooses a rather poised attitude to narrate Frankie's day-to-day life, minutely records his sexual desire, the terror towards the unknown virus and the indecision regarding a new clinic test which could be a death knell for gay men, like his fellow dancer Todd (Risch) says - we come out to our family with death. Johnson never play up the platitudinous romance which is a common trait in the genre, although from their first scene together, audience can perceive a certain spark between Frankie and Todd, but it is not until near the end, they finally strike up a tentative physical contact, again no sparks fly ecstasy, but in an all-too-casual manner and without any implication for melodramatic commitment issues. It is a telling bond between two gay men who may or may not be each other's chosen one.

Artistically, the film also feels a shade different from its peers, first of all, the original choreography fashioned by Sidra Bell is nothing if not a ravishing stunt, at the same time the camera generates its own motion by gyrating fluidly around the dancers' movements. Moreover, Johnson implants Ceiri Torjussen's constantly muffled score to reflect Frankie's sensitive mental activities and deploys his Walkman and the vintage soundtrack as a reminder of the ethos of the era. An unpretentious script encapsulates a viable life trajectory of a common figure and occasionally is effervescent with amusement, such as the jest when they try to have sex with a condom for the first time and how it could end sex- activity forever, or when AIDS has been pointedly referred as an agent to instigate the wave of monogamy. Scott Marlowe firmly projects a sensitive persona on Frankie, who resembles a more lifelike character loathing promiscuity but not a total prude too, when temptation turns up, he can also egg it on if he likes it. The film is nominated for John Cassavetes Award in INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS 2015, which is definitely a tremendous spur for Johnson to proceed with his next project, and auspiciously, TEST shares a similar texture and sincerity of Andrew Haigh's WEEKEND (2011), another genre-defining contemporary LGBT indie.
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Tired and Unoriginal
mminman8 June 2014
Though technically well done and visually adept, even stunning at times, Test adds nothing new to the genre of mid 80s HIV cinema. Test is a step up from Chris Mason's 2008 film, The New Twenty, but suffers from the same lack of original story.

The trailer led me to believe I was going to see a movie that was as much or more about dance as it was about HIV. This was not the case. What dancing there was was the highlight of the film.

Scott Marlowe plays the lead role, Frankie, superbly. It is unfortunate that he was not given a more interesting story to tell.

In the end Test plays like a safe-sex public service announcement done with edgy flair.
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Should've been billed as a dance film
dmanyc21 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Test is a film that wants to be the next The Normal Heart or And The Band Played On, but you wouldn't know it by watching it. The film is about a gay dancer in 1985 San Francisco named Frankie and his day-to-day life as a back-up for a dance company, constantly being told to "dance like a man", has a couple of casual hook-ups, has mice issues, but gets close in the end with bad-boy dancer Todd. The AIDS angle is glossed over here and there, but mostly it's a movie with a lot of ballet/contemporary dancing. Why it's billed as an AIDS movie I have no idea. The lead actor playing Frankie is a great dancer but his acting is more wooden than an oak tree. Aside from the dancing and the cool '80s soundtrack, it's just "eh".
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