Home Entertainment ‘The Visitor’ Review: Bruce LaBruce Is Back with a Spunky Call-to-Arms Loosely...

‘The Visitor’ Review: Bruce LaBruce Is Back with a Spunky Call-to-Arms Loosely Inspired by ‘Teorema’

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A low-budget romp set in contemporary London against a curdled cultural backdrop of racist politics, Bruce LaBruce’s “The Visitor” pays explicit homage to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s sexually provocative last feature, “Teorema.” The cheeky Canadian director’s graphic reimagining sees various mysterious suitcases appearing here and there, each of which turns out to contain an identical naked man, all played by performance artist Bishop Black.

The rest of the film follows one of these guys, the “Visitor” of the film’s title, as he inveigles his way into the home of a wealthy family, proceeding to seduce each family member in turn. The production has managed to wangle an imposing location for the Visitor’s antics to unfold: one of those huge London statement homes made almost entirely of glass, like a sort of gigantic Cubist fishbowl. In other respects, the production values are somewhat DIY. This is Pasolini via early John Waters, including a lengthy scene of joyous coprophagia in which chocolate brownies stand in for the real thing (sparing the cast what Divine went through on “Pink Flamingos”).

Not to imply the cast aren’t generally game for whatever LaBruce’s imagination can conjure up for them. Together with Black as the Visitor, the ensemble — consisting of the Father (Macklin Kowal), the Mother (Amy Kingsmill), the Son (Kurtis Lincoln), the Daughter (Ray Filar) and the Maid (Luca Federici) — seems prepared to go where most actors would not, outside of adult movies. Shit-eating aside, the sex acts are unsimulated, with a Christ-shaped dildo memorably venturing where angels fear to tread, and plenty of bondage and threesomes and so on.

So, is it all just high-concept pornography? Well, yes and no. The majority of the runtime consists of sex scenes, but they are punctuated with slogans which flash onscreen during and after the action, almost like demonstration placards at a march in support of sexual and political liberation. This is pleasure as subversive protest: “Family values” during an incestuous threesome, for example, or “Give peace of ass a chance.” It remains to be seen what distributor will go for it, but the social media marketing writes itself.

While the couplings are as diverse and inclusive as open-minded audiences could possibly hope for, one unifying factor is the copious amount of lube. The glistening and viscous substance is shot in such a way that audiences can see fine strands of it stretched between the partners as they pull apart, only to smack rhythmically back together moments later with a sticky-looking splatch (an opportunity missed in the final sound mix).

It’s unclear whether this substance is literally meant to represent lube as the everyday consumer knows it, or perhaps it is intended as a manifestation of the degree of arousal portrayed by the ensemble. It also seems plausible that there is a connection between the Visitor’s mysterious alien origins and the goo produced by his sexual acts. If so, it’s an amusing throwback to the practical slime effects associated with otherworldly beings in the likes of “Society,” “The Thing” and “Starship Troopers,” prior to the habitual overuse of CGI for such details.

Similarly intimate, Jack Hamilton’s camera stays close to the squelchy action throughout, to the extent that you may find yourself wondering whether there was a line in the budget for tissues and lens cleaner, or perhaps some sort of splatter guard.