Any form of prejudice based on sexual preference is completely ridiculous. Never has that statement been more evident than in director Tyler Glodt’s Stray—a satirical film that takes place in an alternate world where heterosexuals are the ones who are discriminated against. It’s a high-concept premise to be sure, but also one that works so effortlessly as a metaphor for today’s society. By transposing convention and making “straight people” the outcasts, Stray is able to simply elucidate the ludicrousness of bigotry. Fortunately, it does all this with a very tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, relying on over-the-top gay and straight stereotypes to keep the punchlines as frequent as the socially conscious message. This isn’t a sobering drama that paints sexual orientation with a nuanced brush, but in fact, the message may actually hit harder because of that.
From a pacing standpoint, we wish this film was shorter—some of the montage sequences begin to seem repetitive after awhile. And, as a whole, a more ruthless edit would have a made a tighter film for online audiences. But, we can’t deny the personality on display with this film and we respect the ingenuity and commitment to the premise. It’s an idea that could have easily been the basis for a throwaway comedy sketch, but director Glodt—working from an original idea from lead actor Dustin Brooks and a screenplay penned by Lewaa Nasserdeen—really pushes the concept to its narrative limits.
Communicating via e-mail, Dustin Brooks, who plays the protagonist, Eric, describes his reasoning behind making the film: “I have LGBT friends and family who are beautiful people and the thought of them needing to change who they are saddens me. I want to make people know that being gay isn’t a choice just like being straight isn’t one either. After winning the Audience Choice Award at a predominantly conservative audience film festival, I think we are on track.”
We think so too. While this film’s tone won’t appeal to everyone, it’s filled with both comedic and dramatic moments that just stick with you. We’re eager to see what this creative team works on next. Dustin Brooks is currently developing a dramatic silent short film as well a comedy entitled Coming to Hollywood. Director Tyler Glodt is preparing to direct his third feature film, Lost & Found in Cleveland in the fall of 2015. So, it looks like we will, thankfully, have a lot to look forward to in the future.