RJ Bayley Reviews: BB
A lot of films set out to make you feel queasy and leave you feeling just that. They forget however, to do it in a way that doesn’t just bring that nauseated feeling to table. They’re often gritty, woozy, all Dutch angles and over saturated colours for no reason but aesthetic. Occasionally that’s enough if it’s an especially great example of said aesthetic. Most of the time though, it just leaves you feeling like you’ve drunk a litre of over-flour-bulked milkshake followed by two litres of cola and it’s all curdled in your stomach (speaking from experience here). Great, you’ve made me feel a bit sick. And that’s it. Thanks for that.
Writer and Director CJ Wallis’ BB is one of those rarer films which is seedy, off-colour and often drunkenly shot, but does so with real intellect and meaning. Telling the story of Leah Lamont AKA, her camgirl pseudonym, Candy Cummings (Jennifer Mae), it’s a character study of her life falling apart as she becomes the increasing infatuation of Hal Bowman, AKA his cam-watcher, pseudonym HornyHal (Kristian Hanson). This aesthetic absolutely suits the portrayal of the typical camgirl lifestyle and the psychological problems which have often lead them to this job. It doubly works for the film’s even more emotionally fractured antagonist and really externalises the actors’ performances upon the outside world and the way they see it.
Wallis’ choice to cast (up until now) non-actors pays off dividends. There is not one duff moment of performance from his two leads, both being utterly convincing in their roles. Mae’s turmoil is believable and sympathetic, bringing depth to Leah and nuance to the great writing. Hanson makes Hal particularly chilling as he plays his role so down-to-earth and pitifully. At no moment is he ‘Villainous’ with a capital V and it makes him sympathetic too.
The soundtrack is also very strong, adding a great deal to the characterisation and the lens through which the characters see their world. BB is a striking visual collage that lets you pity and understand its complex characters.