Director: Mikael Marcimain
Writer: Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten
Cast: Sofia Karemyr, Simon J Berger, Josefin Asplund, Pernilla August, David Dencik
140mins Thriller Sweden with subtitles
This intelligent Swedish art house feature joins the recent influx of Scandinavian films to flood our cinema screens. Along with The Killing and The Bridge, Call Girl makes challenging viewing not least for its subject-matter: the grooming of young girls to work as prostitutes for top politicians in seventies Stockholm. The city emerges as a bedrock of misogynist culture and child abuse emerges in the run-up to a scandal-ridden general election.
Shifting between two plot lines, the story focuses on how Iris (Sofia Karemyr) and Sonja (Josefin Asplund) gradually find themselves the victim of Pernilla August’s shrewd business woman, Dagmar, who operates a call girl agency with clients drawn from the top echelons of the local political and police elite.
John Sandberg (Simon J Berger) is hired to look into Dagmar’s activities but gradually his operation burgeons into a full-blown criminal investigation encompassing members of his own bureau, and in so doing casts a pall over other shady aspects of society which are inexorably drawn into the proceedings. It’s a tightly-scripted and skillful piece of filmmaking underpinned by a well-put-together seventies aesthetic and some truly excellent performances particularly from the two leads.
Told in a way that’s devoid of drama or sensationalism, it cleverly portrays a society where victims from the bottoms rungs of society are left without voice or proper recourse to justice; this absorbing drama is as chilling, dark and long as January in Stockholm. MT
CALL GIRL IS OUT ON DVD/BLU FROM 28 SEPTEMBER 2013 PRICE: £15.99 courtesy of Artificial Eye.