Enthusiastic Sinners (2017) [CineQuest 2018]

Bruce and Shelley meet when the police are called on gunshots at her place. As there is no issue beyond misbehaving kids, they get to talking and lust quickly takes over. As they spend some times together getting to know each other, lust makes way to something much stronger.

Writer/director Mark Lewis takes this simple premise and starts the story with a bang, having both leads (and only two characters seen in the film) go from meeting to having sex within a few minutes. This is a very raw sex scene which shows things as they are, up close and personal, just one money shot from porn. This may be off-putting for some but the film has a reasoning for it and it does make sense later on. That being said, there are many sex scenes here which may not be for everyone. The story around these scenes works to build a relationship between the characters who in less than 24 hours got from lust to caring about each other. The film does well of showing how two people can connect on a sexual level first and then build trust, connection, and intimacy beyond two bodies satisfying urges. The sex in the film is the lead into showing two very human people, flaws and all, and their needs both physical and emotional. The emotional side of the story sneaks up on the viewer and by the time the film ends, they will be invested and affected by the story.

This is filmed in a way, by cinematographer Ryan Balas, to bring the viewer into the story and into the characters’ intimacy by almost all the shots be fairly close to them. There are not many long distance establishing shots or panoramas shown. The images are definitely all about Bruce and Shelby and what is going on between them. As their relationship builds and their intimacy grows, the camera gets closer to them, bringing the viewer in closer, trying to get them involved as much as the characters.These two characters are played by Christopher Heard as Officer Bruce Durant and Maggie Alexander as Shelby Harrison who both give genuine performances as people in desperate need for a connection. Considering they spend a considerable amount of the film’s run time naked together, their comfort and chemistry with each other is of high importance and they seem to have oodles of each, helping

their characters’ feelings and plights come across on screen in a clear and real manner. The fact that neither are A-listers helps in getting the film to feel real and like the viewer is a fly on the wall during that day. Both of them give raw performances that become more emotional and emotionally involved as the film advances. They play well with and off of each other, something needed and appreciated here. Heard and Alexander give performances that make the film and show how talented they both are.

Enthusiastic Sinners is a film that sneakily reaches for the heart strings through two people giving in to their sexual urges and finding that they had much deeper needs that required fulfillment. Beyond the sex scenes, the film builds two characters and a relationship between them that should touch most viewers and definitely hit home for some, even though they may not agree with everything done and the reasons why. Enthusiastic Sinners is a film that is much deeper than it originally comes off as and that will stir some emotions for many as it weaves feelings and people in a realistic manner.