It is a start of another week and I realised that I haven’t been reviewing international content lately owing to plenty of new releases. And so I decided to go through my watchlist and handpick a film from it. With that I finished watching Pleasure which was on my list for a long time. I haven’t really reviewed erotic dramas and in many ways this will be a first. I remember having watched Boogie Nights which was a stupendous film on the adult film industry. Another instance was the disturbing movie titled A Serbian Film which was a very tough watch. And I kind of was fearing an experience similar to the latter with the film Pleasure. So then does Pleasure manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Pleasure follows the story of a young girl who arrives in LA with dreams of becoming an adult movie star until she learns the harsh reality of the industry. The story is not very normal but its treatment is absolutely ruthless. So many of us have been watching adult movie for years and mostly it is a stimulus for self-pleasure. However, people are oblivious of the things that go behind the scenes. Whether the people performing are comfortable and their hardships, it is much more than what meets the eye. US unlike India has a big booming adult movie industry and it isn’t quite considered a taboo there. But it doesn’t necessarily paint a rosy picture. And the screenplay shows exactly that. There are no half measures in the screenplay, it is ruthless and quite graphic. There are so many scenes which go the full monty so much so that you sit and squirm in your seat uncomfortably.
Some of the scenes are aggressively violent and enough to send a shiver down your spine. You start empathising with the protagonist. You may draw parallels to the showbiz where an individual has to go through a lot to traverse at the top. What did not work for me was the ending which seemed half baked and almost abrupt. Had there been a little build-up, it would have worked wonders because the underlying messaging was in place. But overall, a well written screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational yet at times raunchy given the subject and they leave an unparalleled impact. The BGM is pretty good and conveys the mood of the drama pretty well. The cinematography is one of the unsung heroes of the film. The uncomfortable close-ups are enough to be absolutely disgusted with the proceedings which was actually a positive. Director Ninja Thyberg goes all out without any half measures and hence she manages to create quite a stir. Her direction is top notch and she deserves distinction marks!
The performances are excellent here. Chris Cock as Bear and Evelyn Clair as Ava have their moments to shine. Revika Anne Reustle as Joy is first rate. But the film firmly rests on the strong shoulders of Sofia Kappel who is brilliant as Bella Cherry. What starts off as flamboyance soon translates into empathy and an uncomfortable energy which is difficult to witness after a point. And it has a lot to do with a stupendous act by Sofia.
Pleasure is an uncomfortable and difficult watch which can be witnessed only if you have a very strong gut. This film is unassumingly impactful. Absolutely worth your time.