Review: T.H.O.T?

Written and directed by Jayson Johnson, co-written by Sara Anders, a confident ladies’ man reconsiders going on a date after hearing gossip at the local barbershop. Starring: Phoenyx Rose, Adrian Marcel, Arion Johnson, Don P., Charles M. Baggett, Quania Jones, Victoria Thompson and Tyrone Langford.

Gossip is a powerful entity, placing a seed of doubt into the minds of many and undermining their natural instincts, instead falling for the preconceptions and judgements of others. When combined with a fragile male ego and some old-fashioned ideas of masculinity, then it’s a force to be reckoned with. As learns our ladies’ man Kev (Arion Johnson), besotted with the new woman he’s seeing, his head’s swimming in memories of them in bed together and yet it only takes a few words to lay that doubt. It plays with the idea of how women are viewed in today’s world, whether men are still plagued by a possessive nature or embrace modern society and the larger sexual freedoms that come with it. The interesting aspect is that the way this story progresses nicely notes that the more accepting, open attitudes are winning, gossip and old-fashioned views won’t get you far.

The opening is a great mix of styles, using a hyper-stylised, neon highlighted, obscure angle edit for the sex scene then switching to an everyday, average setting is a nice contrast. Surprisingly they work well together, and the sex scene isn’t graphic but it isn’t overly holding back either. The rest of the direction has a much more earnest feel, it’s grounded and sincere. It does occasionally skirt off into more sentimental territory, especially with later scenes slightly over-extended and blended with music choices that make it almost feel like a montage. It’s a weak spot within the rest of the fairly high energy of the film, slowing things down a touch too much before wrapping up.

All of the cast are well chosen, it’s often that when dealing with romance and sex, the performances can become a little cheesy or ingenuine but that’s not at all a problem here. Arion Johnson kicks things off with a mix of sweetness and naivety, which is then undercut by his fall into possessive, old fashioned attitudes. Phoenyx Rose brings a good blend of confidence and insecurity, bringing the feel of a woman who’s been let down by men in the past and is starting to lose hope, unless someone can change that. Adrian Marcel presents the modern male personality, more appreciative, open and understanding, presenting the counter-balance to Kev.

T.H.O.T? is an exploration of gossip, male ego and how attitudes towards women are slowly changing but some men are still a bit behind the times. It skilfully blends the use of a stylised sex scene with a humble everyday experience. There’s a strong cast at work who manage to bring a genuine quality to each character. Its latter choices of story and style slow things down which doesn’t perfectly fit the existing higher energy but it’s a minor issue that doesn’t undermine the charming quality of the film overall.

Verdict: ✯✯✯½ | 7/10

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