The end game is given away quite early on in the film for those paying attention. However, despite of it, and probably because of it, the characters move the story to build anticipation and curiosity that makes you want to stick with it.
Chris Black (played by Luke Cook) strikes up a conversation with stranger, Emi Mustafi (played by Tatiana Quaresma) at a laundromat. A relatively innocent gesture that results in an invite to a party at Chris’ place that night. He’s invited an assortment of guests to celebrate with him at his inner-city Melbourne apartment. There’s an open bar with a bartender serving fancy cocktails and finger food. It’s clear no expense has been spared. The only thing missing is their host. It’s the type of more intimate gathering Gatsby would have had if he wasn’t a millionaire or lived in a sprawling estate on Long Island.
Most guests aren’t overly familiar with one another: there’s some old high school chums, old girlfriends and an ex-school bully. All are initially at great pains to mingle; the standard ice-breaker question being, “so, how do you know Chris?” The answers vary, with guests discovering that he is different things to different people.
As the night wears on, the mood starts to turn. Topics of conversation range from the intellectual and political, to some sexual and dark in nature, and secrets long held are at threat of being exposed. Each guest’s veneer of composure that shielded uncertainty or self-assurance slowly fades away.
This motley crew has been united by design. When Chris does eventually arrive, nothing is any clearer until he proposes a toast. Having said his piece, Chris’ real motive becomes apparent.
The performances are well executed and keep you engaged. It’s a polished production, filmed in Melbourne with an unplanned edit being done in Brisbane due to Covid.
How Do You Know Chris? opens nationally on Thursday 3 December and will screen at New Farm Cinemas and The Elizabeth Picture Theatre. Check your local guides for screening times.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
About How Do You Know Chris?
Running Time: 86 minutes
Directed by Ash Harris
Stars Luke Cook, Tatiana Quaresma, Travis McMahon, Lynn Gilmartin, Dan Haberfeld