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The Independent Critic

Jack Parr, Kaya Moore, Jim Bayes, Oliver Ashton, Jack Bell, & Cameron Hutchinson
Gage Oxley
15 Mins.

 "This World We Live In" Grabs Hold and Doesn't Let Go 
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Written and directed by U.K.-based filmmaker Gage Oxley, This World We Live In is a jarring and uncomfortable dramatic short, a film that works in rather profound ways precisely because Oxley refuses to compromise his vision for his film and he has cast the exceptionally strong Jack Parr as Joey, an image-conscious 22-year-old student swept up in a new city who begins to fall into drug addiction as a way of repressing his inner demons. Quite intentionally bringing to light one of the LGBT community's darkest issues, This World We Live In brings us face-to-face with Joey's practice of chemsex, a very specific form of drug use describing the use of certain drugs in a sexual context. 

This World We Live In is, at times, a rather brutal film not in terms of violence or even that particularly graphic of a portrayal, but in the way Oxley captures the unflinching honesty of a young man's downward spiral. The film seeks to bring to light the issues around chemsex, yet Oxley wisely does so without demonizing Joey or the issues he's dealing with. Of course, it helps to have an actor the caliber of Parr, whose portrayal of Joey is simultaneously vulnerable, aching, confused and rather heartwrenching. 

Matthew Tingle's lensing is somehow both detached yet intimate, capturing the inner workings of Joey yet never letting us forget the emotional chaos going on inside him. It's absolutely terrific camera work from beginning to end. 

There is a shower scene in the film that is riveting in its raw simplicity, part Arraki's Mysterious Skin yet also an original artistic statement all its own. 

To be distributed by Oxygen Films, This World We Live In is early in its festival run and is a film destined to be quite popular on the indie fest circuit and, should it be marked in the LGBT community would unquestionably prove to be a tad controversial yet so beautiful and unique that I see nothing but acceptance for it. 

For more information on the film, be sure to visit the website linked to in the credits. If it shows up at a festival near you, and I genuinely hope it does, I sincerely hope you take the opportunity to watch it. You won't forget it.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic