Pimped Movie Review
Written by Ren Zelen
Released by Signature Entertainment
Directed by David Barker
Written by David Barker and Lou Mentor
2018, 90 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest World Premiere 24th August 2018
Ella Scott Lynch as Sarah
Benedict Samuel as Lewis
Heather Mitchell as Sophia
Lewis Fitz-Gerald as Michael
Robin Goldsworthy as Kenneth
It makes a nice change to see an Australian film that isn’t set in the outback but in a vibrant Aussie city, a far more appropriate setting for David Barker’s Pimped, which proves to be a Noirish, Hitchcockian psycho-thriller.
The film opens with a hedonistic party in a swanky house, all loud music and dim, garish lighting – slick guy Lewis (Benedict Samuel) is flattering his crass, rich friend Kenneth, before providing him with drugs and hookers.
Meanwhile, on another side of town, reticent Sarah Montrose (Ella Scott Lynch) is in two minds about spending a lonely night in, quietly reading a book, while her extrovert, raven-haired twin Rachael (also Lynch) is intent on taking her on a wild night out.
The audacious Rachael cajoles Sarah into going out to a night club by providing encouragement, advice on which sexy clothes to wear and sweet-talking her about how attractive she looks.
Once at the late-night bar, watching from afar, Rachael goads Sarah into hooking up with smooth-operator Lewis Blake who has engaged Sarah in conversation. Sarah takes the plunge and agrees to leave together with Lewis, who takes her back to the same house where the opening party took place.
Sex brings out a more assertive side to Sarah, and she joins enthusiastically in erotic foreplay with Lewis. However, while she is engaged in sexual congress and facing away towards a window, she sees Lewis waiving to her from the poolside outside – so, who is having sex with her? Turns out she has been the victim of a switch - Lewis merely lured her in and was playing pimp for his horny, rich housemate Kenneth Hanson (Robin Goldsworthy).
Horrified by the callousness of the two men and feeling degraded and violated, Sarah rushes to the bathroom to dress and gather herself together. However, twin Rachael mysteriously appears – just in time to hand Sarah a convenient golf club…
Needless to say, by now we understand the nature of the relationship between Sarah and Rachael, and motivated by her twin, Sarah decides to stay and have it out with Lewis, who tricked her by playing pander to the insensitive and now terminally insensible, Kenneth.
Victim and pimp engage in a wary but significant discussion about what to do with the body. It transpires that Lewis had little respect or friendship for his rich pal, seeing him only as a meal-ticket and passport to the high life, and besides, he knows how to access Kenneth’s bank account.
Despite a mistrust of each other, Sarah and Lewis agree to collaborate on the nasty business of disposing of the corpse. Of course, their plan doesn’t quite go off as they hoped, because when they return to the house they barely have time to clean up before Kenneth’s parents, Sophia and Michael (veteran Australian actors Heather Mitchell and Lewis Fitz-Gerald), arrive unexpectedly in the wee small hours and start to ask awkward questions as to why their useless, good-for-nothing son isn’t there to greet them.
Pimped offers an engaging tale and interesting interplay between the characters but does occasionally have a pacing problem. The narrative momentum begins to flag at times - perhaps because there is not quite enough action going on in the story (co-written with Lou Mentor) to adequately fill out the 90 min run-time. However, we may remain visually engaged by the cinematography – the vivid colours that bathe the city nightscape and contrast with the forest scenes, all serve to enhance the Noirish mood.
The acting is also first rate, particularly by the two leads. Ella Scott Lynch deftly conveys the complexity of her character, a woman at war with herself and with her own impulses. Tellingly, her character Sarah assents to Lewis’s statement, that in some ways, ‘she isn’t that different to him’ but, in the concluding scenes, we also find that she has some unexpected secrets of her own.
Benedict Samuel plays Lewis as an odious and amoral trickster, who never skips a beat in his onslaught of glib, self-justifying chat – his wiseguy comment that Sarah is more like him than she admits, is an observation he may come to regret.
Pimped is the feature film directorial debut of writer/director David Barker, and its not an easy film to review without revealing too much about the events, character interrelationships and twists that make up the film as a whole. Suffice to say that Lewis and Kenneth get a lot more than they bargain for when they play their callous trick on Sarah. There is a nasty lesson to be learned regarding lack of remorse and a failure to consider how atypical and complicated a seemingly pliant woman just might be.
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