Call Girl Directed by Mikael Marcimain – Review

Advance screening courtesy of Element Pictures, Newgrange Pictures and Curzon

Based on a true story of the scandal on 1970s Sweden, Iris, a young tearaway and her cousin are seduced into the seedy world of being call girls to high powered politicians who are being hailed for their work on gender equality.

Call Girl

Director Mikael Marcimain (Wallander) steers this grim, gripping and sexually explicit tale of underage exploitation, undercover police investigation and shadowy political power play. The story follows three characters, Iris (a haunting Sofia Karemyr) a teenager living in a Juvenile Centre, who is lured into the seedy world of high-class prostitution by the charmingly creepy Madame Dagmar (Pernilla August, Anakin’s mother from The Phantom Menace). Tenacious policeman John (Simon J. Berger) builds the case against Dagmar’s lofty political clients and finds himself under the pressure of political decisions.

Iris and her cousin

The subject matter will certainly not be to everyone’s taste. The story is slow to start and the pace remains equally measured throughout. This affects the atmosphere of the film. You would expect a political thriller to build to a crescendo but instead it seems to jump to one far to late. The interesting plot threads and solid characterisation are somewhat deflated by each other resulting in a sag in the middle as it suffers from repetition of situations and dialogue. But by the time you have reached the saggy midpoint you are invested enough in the characters to care what happens to them.

Iris and Dagmar

The sexual element is not glamourised and this is helped by Karemyr’s edgy performance as Iris, the political aspect comes across as a little vague at times. As for the true story, with a little research it seems that the word ‘loosely’ should have been inserted, rather like an Oliver Stone dramatisation of American events, it is a sort of a spun out conspiracy theory based on actual events. Fascinating to watch but you can’t rely on all of the facts.

Rating 6/10

Call Girl opens in the Lighthouse and The IFI on 16th August.

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