EIFF 2016 Review: Slash (2016)

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Clay Liford’s charming and deceptively modest coming-of-age comedy is set within the world of fan fiction, used by awkward teen Neil (Michael Johnston) as a vessel for his own self discovery. His love of slash – writing stories about fictional characters’ sexual relations – attracts the attention of Julia (Hannah Marks), who pushes him to publish his work online. The relationship that evolves between Neil and Julia is the beating heart of the narrative, and Liford has a true compassion for his characters that enables their roller-coaster personal evolutions – sexual and otherwise – to feel authentic. It helps, of course, that the performances are as skilled as they are, particularly clear when Johnston and Marks appear on screen together, their chemistry undeniable. A few slight wobbles aside, Liford’s direction is as accomplished as it needs to be considering the script contains all the heart, depth and humour this kind of film needs to stand out from the crowd as something worth taking a chance on.

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