Appearances can be deceptive and ‘QUEER BLOOD’ is a striking example of a film where nothing is quite as it seems. An indie neo-noir set in North Hollywood, this drama features characters whose wants and desires are hidden by their own internal struggles and locations so authentically brought to life and meticulously put together you can’t help but be drawn in.
Nino, played by Roman himself, is brought to us as an affable, gentle and long-suffering soul who merely wants to be left in peace to work. His macho, swaggering boss Reggie, played by Jesse Tayeh, seems to accept him for who he is, and as we see later on in the film, actually cares for him very deeply. However, he is unable to protect him from the continued close-minded mentality and quite frankly disgusting views held by some, in particular a man whose voice we only ever hear – Mr Vega.
A tale as old as time plays out on our screens where we witness Nino being persecuted for merely being who he is at the hands of an aggressive gun-for-hire, Sean, deftly played by Kyle Williams who performs his Neanderthal-like duties with gusto. The violence is truncated by a phone call from someone we might not expect your typical hitman to answer to, and the film unexpectedly takes us into the warm embrace of a fabulously kitsch 70s setting. Grandma, whose character confirms that a woman’s intuition is always right, is played superbly by Holgie Forrester and our formerly imposing hitman’s resolve is downtrodden by someone who knows him best.
Nobody wants an ending ruined for them and ‘QUEER BLOOD’ needs to be watched all the way through for the individualities to be wholly revealed and the sweet relief of acceptance to wash over. Roman pays homage to the city where his film is beautifully set as it opens with a glorious montage of times gone by, and his talents as a location scout are fully on display in the iconic garage where the film starts.
The dialogue is not subtle, as we can listen to in Reggie’s conversation with a guy trying to get stolen cars fixed and Grandma’s frank and revelatory chat with Sean, but these words and personas are merely fronts to the relationships we see blossom before us. The drama could easily be extended to be a feature-length movie, but quite honestly, it is refreshing to see so much packed into 22 minutes and for a world to open up and do a total 180 in that time. I have no doubt Roman will continue to do what he loves and bring more of his individual and earnest content to our screens as he succeeded so well in doing with ‘QUEER BLOOD’.