Director, writer, and star Frederick Keeve demonstrates a strong imagination but a weak sense of dramatic ability in his feature The Accompanist, a story about a gay piano accompanist who becomes infatuated with a male ballerina amidst a series of tragedies that befall both men.
Keeve stars as Jason Holden, a middle-aged piano player whose musical talents are solicited one day by Brandon (Ricky Palomino) for solo practice. The two quickly fall for each other, despite the latter’s apparent hostility and strange behaviour, and the latter’s alcoholism and abusive relationship with his current boyfriend, Adam (Aaron Cavette).
The Accompanist employs magical realist narrative and visual techniques to elicit an at-times beautifully oneiric film. Though, the film quickly falls apart in its more traditional moments where the drama feels forced and contrived, which leads to some undeserved payoffs. The film’s final ‘reveal’ lacks the suspense and surprise it might otherwise have earned under a more refined directorial approach.
The film’s performances never fully connect either. Keeve’s uneven performance makes his character unlikeable rather than sympathetic. Among the cast, only Aaron Cavette, who portrays Brandon’s abusive boyfriend, appears to have the required talent to strike the delicate balance between anger and insecurity needed to elicit sympathy here.
Like so many independent queer films, it’s possible that The Accompanist simply did not possess the proper resources to fully achieve its obvious potential. There is a great film somewhere in this material, but so much of it relies on the tired fantastical, clichéd formula that hinders so many other queer films.
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Mark Barber: @WorstCinephile