Sophie Kargman’s delightful short Query centers around two young men at a significant junction in their lives. A gamut of emotion smolders, veiled by the film’s easygoing tone, sun-bleached location, and attractive young protagonists waxing poetic. Within a mere 9-minutes, Kargman, along with her co-writer and co-producer Ryan Farhoudi, reveals a, to misquote Casablanca, the potential beginning of a beautiful friendship. As such, Query may very well endure as a bright calling card for the filmmaker’s future endeavors.
Not that Jay (Justice Smith) and Alex (Graham Patrick Martin) aren’t already besties – they’ve been mates since they were 11 years old. Even though Alex has a girlfriend, Olivia (Olivia Sui), and Jay is straight, Alex persistently challenges Jay’s preconceived notions of sexuality. He argues that they were embedded into him by society, by his parents, while historically, humanity has been far more open in regards to sexual preferences; he even refers to Jay as a “pawn in the system.”
“…Jay decides to challenge Alex back, making a blunt proposal that may elevate their friendship…”
“Spartan warriors would bang each other before going into battle,” Alex tells Jay, as they play video games. They have breakfast, hang out in the pool, stroll down neighborhood streets – where they very briefly encounter Armie Hammer’s hunky neighbor Jim – and play board games. That’s when Jay decides to challenge Alex back, making a blunt proposal that may elevate their friendship to a whole new level.
Both of the leads are splendid, their chemistry effortless. I loved the quiet moment towards the end, wherein both men briefly ponder the implications of what they just did, only to be interrupted by Olivia’s phone call. The final question’s double-meaning hangs over the hip-hop-scored credits, insinuating a plethora of possibilities.
Kargman displays a knack for pacing, dialogue, and working with actors. If I had to point out a niggle, it’s that Hammer’s 5-second appearance, though there for a reason (he seems to swoop in from the sultry set of Call Me by Your Name), is a bit distracting. Not enough, however, to blemish the otherwise-sublime little narrative of Query. If I may now pose my own query: when can we expect a full-length feature from Karman?
"…emotion smolders, veiled by the film's easygoing tone, sun-bleached location, and attractive young protagonists..."