Category: Documentary, Social
I rated it: 2 stars
Yes, it's a documentary about strippers and hurricanes. Sadly a lot more independently of each other than I think was originally intended in the concept stages of the film.
Look, I'm just not sure I understood the point of this movie. It was supposed to be a documentary about women, one in particular that this movie spends most of its time following, that turns to stripping in light of Hurricane Katrina.
This movie felt more like two different movies tossed in a blender. A small portion of it was about a town in turmoil after Hurricane Katrina. The amateur style of filming in the movie only added to the realism of the imagery of the Hurricane and the horrors of the destruction, especially in the opening minutes of the film.
The second just seemed like a journey to answer the question "Why do women strip?" (Hint: It's the money and the attention). Wow, that didn't take long to figure out.
What in the hell do the two have to do with each other? I'm not sure this movie answers this question which is disappointing because I thought that was supposed to be the point. Instead we're left with an erratic mess of a movie that jumps from topic to topic as much as it jumps from editing style to editing style. One minute, we see fades of impactful imagery from a town trying to heal. The next I'm left with flashy imagery of titties on my screen to "Sweet Child O' Mine". The flashiness continues completely unnecessarily in many of the interviews. Tiny boxes jump around my screen and flip mirror images of interview subject for no explainable reason. Most shockingly and depressing for a movie of this type, I have a very hard time feeling sympathy for any of the characters in it. We see them talk about destruction and how their life has changed one moment, and the next we see them pouring their money into trips to the grocery store to buy vodka and talk about how fucked up they got over the weekend. Perhaps I'm supposed to be shocked and saddened by it, but I felt myself more angry that the main character wouldn't just dump her boyfriend already.
I'd probably give this movie a worse score, but I did find a couple redeeming factors of the movie. One was the very realistic and haunting images of the city in the days leading into months following the hurricane. The most important factor though was the one character who successfully tied these two separate subjects together for me: The Grandmother of our main stripper subject. A woman who not only has to deal with the turmoil of losing things in her home due to the rotting water, but a woman who has to cope with the lies of her granddaughter when they are exposed. She's the one character you feel the most sympathy for, and the ignorance she has to force upon herself when everything is laid bare is one of the most compelling moments of all.