So, I just randomly watched this film with Aussie actress Emily Browning, Sleeping Beauty. This dark, modern twist on the old classic tale, is about a student who submits to erotic services as a result of her financial stress.
The story left me a bit puzzled. Although I didn't see much point to it, I felt the director (Julia Leigh) did a good job at portraying the inner turmoil of a young woman's psyche, and the degrading liaisons she puts herself through to stay afloat economically. But at the end I almost felt the need to shrug my shoulders and get myself a cup of coffee. On the contrary, hats off to Emily for taking on such a role which involves her being uncomfortably sexualised, and full frontal at the center of the public's eye.
Lucy (Emily Browning), seems like just a regular, troubled student struggling to pay her bills, with no romance or love in her life. Parental involvement is non-existent, with the exception of a brief phone call from her alcoholic mother, flatmates not worth a flying ****, and a very estranged relationship with her friend/voyeur Thomas (Eden Falk). Within the first five minutes of the film we start to think, "Hey, she's got a problem." as a whole world of prostitution, human guinea pig testing and old, pervy men opens up around her.
The audience rides along with her calm, cool and collected attitude as she dives head first into serving 'Silver Service' for a secret gathering of old, wealthy bastards who can't get it up, all arranged by the head Stepford wife, Clara (Rachael Blake).
By now my alarm bells would be deafening enough to say "Screw the money!" and get out of there, but not for Lucy. For most of the film she seems to have no reaction or regret for the 'jobs' she does, but slowly but surely you begin to see it subtly, weighing on her conscience. The strict and almost suffocating direction of the film definitely adds to the feeling of no escape from her money, work and subconscious, although I never got invested in the character or any of them, because for the most part she was cool and aloof, not caring at all, so why should we?
Easy money can turn us all into victims, and I think that's the strongest message I got from this film, as well as a new found form of respect for the actress playing Lucy, a delusional, rebellious prostitute that lost her way in the world.
Overall it's a watchable film that doesn't have you falling asleep or staring at the screen with drug induced eyes. The one's that appreciate the 'artsy' films, this might be for you, as it reminds me of Melancholia, just plodding along (without the suicidal impulses at the end.)