Review: X (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Review: X (2011)

RATING: 2.5/5

From the look of the suggestive poster, it's easy to dismiss that Jon Hewitt's Australian thriller entitled X, is a sexually-charged erotica that seems to be leaning more towards exploitation. Unfortunately this is the kind that never judge the movie by its cover. Despite such title as X, this movie is more of a half-realized gimmick rather than a full-fledged erotic thriller it suppose to be.

Holly (Viva Bianca of TV's Spartacus: Blood and Sand) is a high-class call girl who is on the verge of retirement. She has finally saved enough money for Paris to start a new life. But before that, she has to settle for one last job where she requires to find another partner for three-way sex with a client. Enter Shay (Hanna Mangan Lawrence), a young girl who has just arrived in town by bus and desperately broke. Apparently she has run away from home and hoping to score some money by becoming a prostitute.

Then at an unexpected twist of fate, both of them collide and soon find themselves hooked upon each other. After a successful three-way sex job with a client, something goes terribly awry and that single night becomes a nightmare. Both of them witnesses their particular client gets shot by a violent drug dealer. They quickly flee the scene as fast as they can, only to be subsequently chased by the drug dealer who just refuse to quit until he gets both of them.

At least for the first half of the movie, X exploits the reality side of prostitution. The movie, which brilliantly utilized with Red One Camera, is sensually photographed by Mark Pugh. Among the most tantalizing moment is the first five minutes where Holly and a naked young man stripped down entirely and starts making love in front of a luxury room full of middle-aged housewives sitting in a circle. However, despite its generous amounts of sex and nudity, Jon Hewitt isn't really interested to depict them in glamorous way. In fact you can say all the sex scenes are more of an afterthought than a full-on experience. Such approach might disappoint those viewers expecting the typical erotica.

As the second half of the movie approaches, that's where the plot starts to kick in. From here, Jon Hewitt and Belina McClory's screenplay doesn't explore much other than a series of unflinching moments where the characters get humiliated, chased, beaten, bruised and battered. Everything are shot in a gritty way to depict the ugly side of a nighttime Australian underbelly. But surprisingly, the result is mildly shocking because Hewitt himself likes to withhold its violent nature as restrained as possible and mostly opted for simplistic flair. Like the disappointingly restrained sex scenes, most of the violent scenes here are also lackluster.

Jon Hewitt's direction is showy, and he certainly knows his way around with the camera and arresting visuals. But what he lacks the most is the sense of depth. It's like everything here looks visually pleasing to see except it's all mere surface.

The cast, in the meantime, is fairly credible. Viva Bianca is perfectly cast as the high-class call girl Holly who is simply mesmerizing with her sultry performance. Perhaps her extensive experience in Spartacus: Blood and Sand has made her role here feels natural and spontaneous. Too bad her character is mostly one-dimensional, which make us hard to care for her. Hanna Mangan Lawrence fares slightly better than her, as she is showcasing a timid vulnerability and reckless behavior as a young girl who is inexperienced in prostitution. As for he rest of the supporting actors, they are all strictly caricatures.

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