The Girlfriend Experience [Blu-Ray] Steven Soderbergh

The Girlfriend Experience [Blu-Ray] Steven Soderbergh
Possibly Hollywood's most reliably risk-taking workaholic auteur, Steven Soderbergh continues to demonstrate his passion for intimate experiments with The Girlfriend Experience. Shot digitally, with minimal budget, in about two weeks time, the fractured story examines the life of Chelsea, a high-class, modern-day Manhattan escort, as she navigates relationships with her clients and live-in boyfriend, adapting her demeanour like a chameleon, an avatar or well, an actress to suit each man's particular needs. The film doesn't rest on the lazy fascination of how a professional sex worker deals with her Johns. Soderbergh and first-time mainstream film actress Sasha Grey (a former porn star) are insistent on broaching and attempting to breach the cold steel blast doors Chelsea and, indeed, any sex worker must construct and maintain for both physical and emotional safety. The slightly hazy motion of the digital shooting method supports the feeling of detachment implicit in the film. Not content to present sex work as a uniquely reprehensible or social pariah-worthy profession, Soderbergh contrasts his primary subject's job requirements with those of other working professionals. Particularly telling of this attitude is Soderbergh's emphasis on scenes involving Chelsea's boyfriend, Chris, working at a gym, being exactly the kind of encouraging or slave-driving buddy he needs to be for each specific client. By the moment the camera catches up to the stirring audio of a fantastic street drumming performance, seemingly unconnected to events of the story, Soderbergh's message crystallizes: everyone sells themselves based on personal talents. Dropping Eisenstein quotes on editing, Grey's art-house cinema geek pedigree shines through in a thoughtful conversation comprising her and Soderbergh's salacious feature commentary. A "Making Of" is slight and repetitive, and an almost indistinguishable alternate cut of the film is also included. Otherwise, the disc is almost as naked as the star is in her prior films. Grey subtly and gracefully handles the complex emotions required of her in this unique debut, hopefully opening the door for further less orifice-stretching roles in her future. (Mongrel Media)