CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: Life at the Crossroads in Tense ‘Critical Nexus’
CHICAGO – In the realm of micro-budget independent films, it’s rare that a story produces psychological intrigue and the aura of a pulse pounding thriller. Director Tirf Alexius uses three characters to drive a narrative that is fast approaching the definition of its title, “Critical Nexus.”
The centerpiece of the film are the uncommon personalities that develop and are destined to come together. “Critical Nexus” refers to the crossroads that are initiated when divergent paths are on a collision course, and the screenplay by Todd Heller sets those paths into a frenzied motion. The film is a kaleidoscope of the point-of-view, as director Alexius uses smart phones and laptop cameras to create a contemporary viewpoint of the “eye,” both watching the characters and allowing them to broadcast their fate. The story creates a mood of vulnerability in coming to that nexus, and it is in being vulnerable that the strengths and fatal flaws of the players are revealed.
Katie (Kiley Moore) is a frustrated 16 year-old teenager, who expresses her confounding sexuality through video blogging. Her followers on the interactive site include Mark (Karmann Bajuyo), a former internet pioneer who harbors guilt about his web creations, and Brendan (Ron Lipski), who is traveling cross country committing random murders. When Katie runs away from home, the mystery of where she is going becomes part of figuring out why she’s gone.
The journey of Katie and those pursuing her become the basis for the rest of the story, as flashbacks fill in Mark’s sordid past, and how that past has a connection to both Brendan and Katie’s father (Kevin Lingle). As the teenager runs farther away, her internet “fans” demand that she be closer, and a physical encounter is destined to occur at the crossroads.
Photo credit: R-Squared Films