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United Kingdom 2004
Directed by
Richard Hawkins
91 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars


Shot entirely on Digital Video with a small cast and crew, Richard Hawkins' film tells the story of the relationship between Richard (Ray Winstone) and “Naomi” (Jan Graveson), a prostitute trading out of a cheap Soho (in London, not New York) flat caretakered by her bully-boy pimp who spends his time downstairs reading the tabloids. Naomi is a hard case who’s seen pretty much everything during her long career on the game but Richard is an odd-ball, apparently more interested in probing Naomi’s mind than her body.

Like Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs which was released the same year, the film is divided into nine distinct episodes and follows the relationship between its male and female protagonists from beginning to end. Hawkins’ film,which he also wrote, is the more effective of the two, although like Winterbottom’s it is not one that will please a lot of people due to its seedy content and low-budget style. Those with a fondness for the lower depths in general and the subject of prostitution in particular, however, will appreciate the film’s directness and the strong performances by Graveson, in her cinematic debut, and Winstone, always a reliable presence.

Everything is essentially a two-hander with an effective dramatic structure that includes a late plot twist which not everyone may find entirely satisfactory but which will give some small measure of satisfaction to those looking for more conventional narrative motivation whilst anyone interested in how to make a strong film with limited resources will find it instructive.




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