The Movie Waffler First Look Review - THE ESCORT | The Movie Waffler

First Look Review - THE ESCORT

the escort film review
A man pays for an escort's time with the intention of persuading her to leave her job.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Bizhan M. Tong

Starring: Kevin Leslie, Olivia Moyles

the escort film poster

There is a responsibility that comes with this work that I am acutely aware of; as I really only review indie movies, the likelihood of the film-makers themselves actually reading the review is very high, and often does happen. This makes being honest when something actually isn’t good, a more difficult proposition. I don’t want to crush someone’s dreams or hurt anyone, but I am equally aware that I cannot in good conscience recommend a film that does not pass muster simply to spare someone’s feelings. Unfortunately this is one of those times.

Beginning with a nervous man visiting an as yet unknown woman's flat, he enters her home only to be asked for a “donation”. He admits this is his first time and although no one has actually come straight out and said it directly, it's clearly an exchange of money for sex. She tells him to get comfortable in her lounge room as she seductively slips upstairs to change.

Not long after we watch his awkwardness in a failed attempt at humour, she flounces back downstairs in lingerie and offers him a cookie (?)

After the pleasantries, he clarifies he doesn't want sex but the chance to explain her truth. He wants to convince her to do a different line of work.

He gets out a previously written speech about love at first sight and reads it to her. He says he sees her beauty.

He then trots out the galling line that what women are looking for in men is one of three things – money, status or power; and I can feel my blood pressure rising at such an egregious lie.

the escort film review

He talks about how The Wizard of Oz is a parable for coming out as gay - mmmmkay, not sure how it relates and the explanation is a bit too much of a stretch, but whatever.

He says he's going to use the hour to make her fall for him.

She asks to change clothes again as she doesn't want to have the conversation “dressed as a whore”.

He claims 90% of people hate their jobs - yeah, I don't believe that for a second.

They have a conversation while she's upstairs changing and you can barely hear her side, which I’m sure adds realism but doesn’t add much to the story.

He reads aloud her escort profile and then refers to it as “demeaning” and self-hating.

She says he can justify his use of an escort by claiming he's “saving her”.

She calls him a sanctimonious prick and he deserves it, but straight after his mealy-mouthed apology he says she's “degrading herself” and should be “better than this”.

the escort film review

He goes to the bathroom to take some sort of tablet (just like using a mystery cough to indicate someone is unwell, this is a big hint folks) and she apologises for her justified anger!!

She asks him to tell her about himself and help her fall in love.

He, Eric (Kevin Leslie) then asks for her real name, which she claims is Kimberley (Olivia Moyles).

Niceties over, he then shames her for sleeping with married men and “ruining families”, obviously missing the point that she's not the one who made vows.

He says she's being used. Way to win her heart there buddy.

Eric continues to talk at Kimberley through the door after she kicks him out.

The dialogue is awkwardly stagey and not in the slightest bit close to how people really talk. Leslie is especially unconvincing but is also given the most implausible speeches to recite.

He is willing to compromise his principles for her; wow, thanks random man.

She lets him back in cause we all just can't resist a man who insults us and belittles our career choices, right ladies?

The best part of the film occurs now with the escort origin story painfully told by Kimberley. This is the only time the script shows any promise or emotional accessibility, and Moyles delivers it with conviction.

Eric has a ‘poor me’ moment that made me cringe as suddenly all his sexist judgemental rubbish is ‘ok’ because he’s sick.

Also they obviously haven't heard of condoms, and every time Eric says “pussy” my skin crawls.

The ending is both utterly predictable and dully unsatisfying.

Technically, it's shot in an uninspired manner by writer/director Bizhan M. Tong, the sound quality is patchy and there is even a jump cut or two.

the escort film review

Honestly, I couldn’t tell if the film is offensively misogynistic or if it's just the character of Eric, but frankly I found it maddening to watch.

Sex is not shameful, and I don't like that attitude in my films.

I also don't like the attitude towards sex workers displayed here; they are not victims but intelligent businesswomen with a union and their own community.

Like being trapped in an elevator with a slut shaming right winger who won’t stop talking, this film even features an apparently mind-changing horror story ‘prostitution-as-a-gateway-to-porn-and-other-evils’ anecdote that I’m sure she, as a professional escort and clearly bright woman, would already have heard many times before.

It may have unfolded in real time but that hour felt like a lifetime spent in the company of a priggish and insufferably self-righteousness boor.

This film's holier-than-thou attitude is its undoing. No one likes to be lectured, especially in such a puerile, sexist and over-egged manner.

At the end credits, the film-maker thanks the women who shared their stories. Seeing how they were used, I wonder if they regret their co operation.

I regret watching it.