Friday, May 22, 2009
REVIEW: One Hour Fantasy Girl...
This summer is the season of robots, Vulcans, and more robots. It is the season of the biggest and loudest films to come this year. However, there are also a few small indie films that deserve the time of the average film goer.
One of these films is the character study, One Hour Fantasy Girl. Fantasy Girl introduces us all to the world of a twenty-year-old girl: Becky Lewis (Kelly-Ann Tursi), who escaped an abusive alcoholic mother at the age of 15 and has been surviving on her own in Los Angeles ever since. After becoming partners with Chi Trang (Paul Nguyen) who himself is an aspiring musician, becomes what is known as a "fantasy girl." Instead of selling her body like a prostitute, she simply is paid by men who want her to fulfill any fantasy they may have, as long as no sex is involved, and everything is legal. Along the way, she meets two customers, Roger and Bobby, who change her life, forever.
This film comes to us from the much buzzed about writer/director Edgar Michael Bravo, who is most famous amongst the indie scene for his film, The Three Stages Of Stan, a film that after seeing this, is one that I will be hunting down. His neo-documentary style allows this intriguing story to not only play for what it is, but also heighten the viewers emotional response.
The production values are also very high for how low budget this film is, and the high definition in which it was shot makes this a very crisp and moody film to watch. No matter the fantasy, the person, or the place, Bravo puts his camera right there, and allows the audience to see what Becky does for work, and doesn't spare a single scene. There may be a few pacing issues with this film, but for being 89 minutes long, this is easily one of the briskest watches I've seen in a long time, and it has a lot to do with the direction and visual style. This is a raw look at a woman's life, and the seedy things she is into, and the look and style of the film amp that feeling up to 11.
However, the true star of this film may be the cast, particularly the lead. The character of Becky is a tough and complicated one, and Tursi is pitch perfect. Becky is as far from happy with her life as one can be, and yet she doesn't seem to be shamed by what she is doing. However, she does have a sense of sadness and just something slightly dark about her, which brings a lot to the role. She's stunning to look at, and yet there is just something slightly off about her character that makes her all the more compelling to watch on screen. This film is a dense character study, almost an existential piece, and it works for the entire 89 minutes.
Also, the supporting cast brings their "A" game, particularly Joe Luckay. Luckay plays the sweet Bobby, and while his performance doesn't hit every note, the interchanges between he and Tursi, particularly one during their second meeting, are superb. He's a bit miscast here, but where there are a few flaws in his performance, they are made up in these very emotional and well written scenes. The only performance that slightly bothered me was the performance of Nguyen as Becky's partner, Chi. It is a fine performance, just one that seemed to be in the wrong film. It was a bit weirdly toned, but extremely well acted. The character has an edge, but isn't cartoonish like you would imagine someone who is the legal version of a pimp, and has a true heart for Becky. Not in a love interest style of way, but sort of as a big brother, which makes the weird sexual tension in the performance a tad weird. The performance was fine, just slightly one note.
The other surprising part of this film comes from the pieces score. Written by Nima Fakhrara, the music from this film fits every moment. When the scenes begin to ramp up in emotion, so does the music. This, along with the phenomenal script, surprising performances, and a stunning visual style, this is one film that you can't afford to miss. When I say go see something good at the end of each post, I'm talking about films like this.
ONE HOUR FANTASY GIRL - 8.5/10
Go see something good!
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