June 8th, 2009

amd: angel and the ape looking back

The Girlfriend Experience

Saturday, K. and I went to see Steven Soderbergh's new film The Girlfriend Experience. It's about Chelsea, an upscale call girl in Manhattan, who is intently focused on advancing her career, but always only one or two bad mistakes away from disaster. What she (and the film) delivers to customers is really more emotional than sexual, an illusion of human connection that includes sex, but also many of the trappings of a relationship as well. While Chelsea is cute and receptive, however, there's a distant, iciness to her that isn't just protecting her from her customers. It's creating problems with her boyfriend as well.

According to IMDB, twenty-one-year-old Sasha Grey, who plays Chelsea, has been in 160 porn films in her three year career! That's not really much indication of her acting talent, of course, but I think she did a pretty good job. It will be interesting to see if she can navigate the waters of more mainstream film, assuming that's what she wants.

The film itself is shot in a lo-fi, almost hidden camera style that makes the audience feel vaguely like voyeurs. But the film isn't about peeping and it isn't really even about the story, which is told out of sequence, intentionally robbing it of much of its drama. No, it's about the characters and about what our desires tell us about who we are.

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