Stars: Sara Fletcher, Brad Fletcher, Rosalind Rubin and Ryan Mulkay
|This film was an official selection at the 9th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix in 2013. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 films.|
We watch how she works as the film begins, dealing with a client in such a way that invites a clear parallel with another profession. Alice works from home and her client feels nervous in even being there. It's his first time, apparently, and he's not sure how it all works. He's Calvin, but she doesn't need his name. She takes his money and asks him to wait for her in the bedroom. When she joins him, they can begin. No, she's not a prostitute, though she serves a similar purpose, to take care of a mental urge that has a physical manifestation. However, there's nothing sexual in the source of the urge or the way in which she satisfies it, making her more like a confessor, who can relieve burdens and allow people to move forward with their lives, happier with their secrets shared and not festering away inside. There's a literal transference, making Alice akin to a sin eater, but the secret doesn't stay in her; she's a physical conduit who transfers it on again into a glass jar.
I really liked this concept, that merges the world's oldest profession with perhaps its next oldest. There are ties to prostution beyond the clearly outlined parallels, in that secret keeping is hinted at not being a respected profession, perhaps one to which people come out of desperation and doubt, their visit a secret in itself. Yet there are continued parallels to the priesthood too, such as the ritual and litany of the event. 'Share this with me,' Alice asks each client to formally begin the process; 'Go and let the peace surround your soul,' she recites after it's over. This is an enticing concept and Sara Fletcher is magnificent in both aspects, simultaneously carnal and consecrated. Magnetically gorgeous even in dowdy attire, she would surely be the favourite in any brothel. Yet she carries herself impeccably, with a inherently trustworthy, almost holy air, making her a natural confessor. One client calls her a saint, but she prefers martyr.
This film really has everything. It starts with a great concept, which it fashions into a great story, courtesy of Fletcher and director Bears Fonté. Underneath it all is a great theme which keeps us thinking, not only about what we see but the ramifications of it. The production is pretty solid too, with Fletcher's acting most notable. The other two actors we see a good deal of are Ryan Mulkay and Rosalind Rubin, both of whom do solid work too, Mulkay looking especially right for the period. If there's a downside, it's the lighting. While it looks much better without projection issues, it aims at a muted palette in deference to the forties feel and some scenes play out in light that's a little too dim and with colours that are a little too faded. That's not much of a downside for a powerful short and I certainly now need to track down iCrime, a feature Bears Fonté wrote and directed in 2011 with Sara Fletcher in the lead. If it's half as good as this, I'll be impressed.