Daniel is an extremely pretty and rather sad young man, until, that is, he begins to discover his true self, through means that the press release is peculiarly vague about. Well, I’ll tell you – spoilers – it’s drag, which is an odd thing to seek to conceal about the movie, as it seems to me that, with RuPaul’s Drag Race and all the rest of it, drag’s the hot thing at the moment and certainly something you’d want to sell the movie on. But whatever. Daniel goes with a co-worker to a drag club and gets to drunk that he wakes up not remembering anything about the previous night. But what happened is, he agreed to perform a routine in drag, something’s he’s never tried before. Eek!
That’s an interesting enough premise, though it feels to me like a bit of a cheat to keep Daniel’s coming-out moment, which should be pivotal, from both Daniel himself (because he was too drunk) and from the audience (because it takes place offscreen). But the real oddity is that, after 20-30 minutes of coherent, grounded – if highly stylised – narrative, the film presents Daniel’s first night of drag in fragmented, hallucinatory fashion. With the lovely, pulsating Johnny Jewel soundtrack – his music made memorable appearances in Nicolas Refn’s Bronson and Drive, Ryan Gosling’s Lost River, and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return – it’s like a music video, one of those hundreds of music videos full of aimless Lynchian nightmare imagery. It’s unclear quite why the choice was made to present Daniel’s experience so horrifically – isn’t drag supposed to represent an emancipation for him, a beautiful thing? The nightclub is bathed in Hellish red, like the techniques used for evil nightclubs in Irréversible, Shame, and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
It’s an odd choice and an unfortunate one, because what was a reasonably interesting picture becomes a slog through go-nowhere imagery, like someone was desperate to somehow drag the picture up to feature length (just barely – it’s 63 minutes).
Into the Mirror is in cinemas and on digital from 22nd November.