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Consent: A Channel 4 Masterpiece That Channelizes The Male Sexual Appetite



Consent: A Channel 4

It  is  interesting to note that the group of teenage boys who indulge in a porn session, reaching their pants in shared excitement,   at one point in the taut one-hour telefilm are multi-racial. One of the boys Navjot(Dee Ahluwalia) is  Indian. He is  not the focus of attention. The very British Archie(Tom  Victor) is.

Archie forces himself at his 18th birthday  party on Natalie(Lashay Anderson) whose  child-like innocence and  growing awareness that she cannot afford to be a child any longer, will pique  your protective instincts.

What happens thereon is simple , yet not explicable in  simple  terms. Where  is the line between consent and rape? It is to director  Nadira Amrani’s credit that she is able to  bring Natalie close to us, the audience,  without  over-sentimentalizing her predicament.

Natalie WAS drunk and she  was most definitely not in her senses when Archie  forced himself on her upstairs  while   their friends were partying at the poolside.Natalie’s  quest for  justice comes a  little later. At first every effort is made to silence her, first  with threats of  expulsion from school,  then with class  bullying, and I don’t mean the classroom,Archie being high-society  and  all that .

All  of this, we have already seen in  innumerable  films from Jodie Foster’s  The Accused to Taapsee Pannu’s PinkConsent is special. It  does not pick sides. The  polarization between  right and  wrong is  not easily achieved  here.Archie is  often humanized to a humiliating level of whining  penitence.

But then the  director brings on Archie’s  friends. A bunch of sexually curious pipsqueaks captured  in  large squirty fantasy outbursts  as a bunch of  measly misogynists messaging to Archie.Director Nadira Amrani has  the  boys’ club lensed in ridiculously tight  close-ups, as if she intends to enter their  sickened souls  through their  inquisitive private parts.

It all seems  so …so… dirty and yet so necessary.Consent is  not a pretty film about courtroom questionings after an act of sexual  violation. It enters the homes and the parties of the young and the  rich and roams  freely across their unbalanced  lifestyles.

The  performances by the young(struggling to come to terms  with their  exacerbated  libido) and the old(trying to understand what the young do, and why, when the adults are  not looking)  are evenly effective. Lashay Anderson and Tom Victor play the violated and the violator with a rare understanding  of  grim situation by actors  so  young.

Consent in less than hour says so much about why rapes go largely  unreported. Oftentimes the  victim herself isn’t sure.

I remember  a young male actor asking me if  a producer  who had groped him after calling him for work, had committed  a crime. The  confusion continues.


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