Claire Dolan

Director: Lodge Kerrigan
Year Released: 1998
Rating: 3.0

I don't know - Kerrigan's obsession with the geometry and symmetry of New York's icy exterior as a visual metaphor for his heroine's mental state - sex is something for money, she doesn't love the people she's with - is consistently compelling and unsettling, and the film, which seems to infuriate others, had the opposite effect on me. It moves at a snail's pace, and the dialogue is delivered in monotone (Claire's line, "I want you inside me," is so flat that it borders on being funny ... but simultaneously sad), but it's also a captivating portrait of a woman who just can't feel because there's no feeling around her, and the only love she ever got someone paid her for. It's sparse and empty, creepy and unsettling, but intriguing as a film about sexual martyrdom and the need to escape from the torturous job you have to endure every day (prostitution is, as they say, the oldest job in the world). Had there been more in there - didn't like the "pimp" character (too intentionally evil), for all the good performances there's a void where there should be a tad more substance/plot/explanation, the sex scenes go on too long and seem besides the point (we know it's a mechanical act) - it would have ranked way higher; the fact that it was made years ago and barely released hints at how hard-to-grasp it is for audiences expecting a completely different movie. Would work well with Romance on a double-bill - both, eerily, have the same ending, though I found this one less ludicrous and pretentious.