If you’re not a fan of slow, artistic dramas that have more interest in their characters’ private parts than a compelling narrative, you’d probably be best avoiding Ashley Horner’s overindulgent debut feature about a young couple called Noon and Manchester.
With names destined, and perhaps designed, to annoy less tolerant viewers, the two leads have a lot of sex in a variety of locations (although mostly in a garage) and positions. Manchester takes pictures of Noon’s vagina (or ‘pussy’ as she delightfully calls it), and they relate past sexual adventures to each other. Occasionally Noon’s pussy gets sore from all this pounding and Manchester has to resort to jerking himself off while fondling her from behind.
For those who like this type of thing I’m sure it will come across as wonderfully honest, brave, uplifting and profound. To the majority (a group, for once, I seem to be part of) the whole ordeal will seem pointless, tiresome and unoriginal. We’ve seen all this already in Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs, and even then it seemed irritating and pretentious. Now it just feels rather empty.
There is more of a plot to brilliantlove than Winterbottom’s 2004 fuck-fest. Some of Manchester’s photos fall into the hands of a pornographer who persuades him to exhibit them. For a short period the film looks as if it’s going to offer a sharp satire on the world of modern art, and what it means to be ‘edgy’ and ‘alternative’ in twenty-first century culture, but this never really develops and Horner quickly reverts to more wanking and screwing.
The monotony of the film overshadows the competent and at times affecting performances delivered by Nancy Trotter Landry and Liam Browne our lead bed-friends; two actors who could have really shone if the story had concentrated on love as much as it did on ejaculatory fluids.
I’m sure (and hope) we haven’t yet seen the best of Ashley Horner. Maybe we should just consider this a forgettable stepping-stone to greater things.
brilliantlove (2010), directed by Ashley Horner, is available on DVD from Soda Pictures, Certificate 18. The film contains sexually explicit scenes throughout.