United Kingdom | 2024 | 110 min. | Mikko Mäkelä

When an ambitious 25-year-old journalist (Ruaridh Mollica) goes undercover as a gay sex worker to inform his debut novel, he begins to enjoy his nocturnal alter ego more than he anticipated in this exhilarating and erotic drama of self-expression.

They say write what you know, but what if you took the matter into your own hands and experienced what you thought people would want to read? Aspiring writer Max does just that, becoming a gay escort under the pseudonym Sebastian to fuel the pages of his first novel. Touching on the subject of expectation, exploitation, and persona in an age when it’s so easy to deceive or to cultivate perception, we follow Max as he struggles to define himself in a way that he thinks will impress the collective literary audience. Out of desperation to stand out, he chooses to push prose rather than wait for it, stepping into the role of his sex worker protagonist to the point that he loses his grip on where the narrative ends and reality sets in. The swirl of guilt from using his clients combines with the shame of being used, longing for experience to the point of no longer being present in oneself. This is not so different, in my opinion, from the malaise of a morning after a fit of drinking; hazy memory bleeding into dysphoria, recalling what you’ve said and the hours you stole in order to indulge. Who are you really? Which moments were true? At the end you get a story, perhaps something shocking to tell at a party, but at what cost? At what point are you just a device to move the plot? For Max, he must decide where his loyalties lie: owning his life sincerely or the sacrifice of self; maintaining the façade of who he believes he should be in order to be the next golden boy of writing. Note: This film contains explicit sex.

—Marion Bailey

  • Director: Mikko Mäkelä
  • Principal Cast: Ruaridh Mollica, Hiftu Quasem, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, Jonathan Hyde, Leanne Best, Lara Rossi
  • Country: United Kingdom, Finland, Belgium
  • Year: 2024
  • Running Time: 110 min.
  • Producer: James Robert Benjamin Watson
  • Screenplay: Mikko Makela
  • Cinematographers: Iikka Salminen
  • Editors: Mikko Makela, Arttu Salmi
  • Music: Ilari Heinilä
  • Filmography: A Moment in the Reeds (2017)
  • Language: English, French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • US Distributor: Kino Lorber
  • International Sales: LevelK