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A couple checks into a suite in Las Vegas. In flashbacks we see that he's a computer whiz on the verge of becoming a dot.com millionaire, she's a lap dancer at a club. He's depressed, withdrawing from work, missing meetings with investors. He wants a connection, so he offers her $10,000 to spend three nights with him in Vegas, and she accepts with conditions: four hours per night of erotic play, and no penetration. During the days in Vegas, they get to know each other, have fun, meet a friend of hers; at night, at least after the first night, things seem to get complicated. Is mutual attraction stirring? Will they play by their rules? Can it be about more than money? Written by
"Center of the World" is a very well photographed drama and is highly worth a viewing, but has several flaws.
"Center of the World", an almost mirror image of "Leaving Las Vegas" (better film), is about a computer whiz named Richard's (Peter Sarsgaard) three day escape from his everyday life to Las Vegas with a stripper named Florence (the lovely Molly Parker), who he pays to go with him under the conditions they won't have sex.
But Richard's promise eventually gets the best of him and he begins to obsess about having the best sex of his life with Florence. Florence, meanwhile, holds Richard back with teases and a "Fire and Ice" (Don't ask me) routine off screen.
With each tease, the characters' chemistry builds up and we begin to wonder if Richard and Florence are actually falling in love.
"Center of the World" has beautiful cinematography. The entire film was shot on tape and a few scenes are in one of the best shades of black and white I've ever scene.
Peter Sarsgaard is very good as the naive but extremely polite computer whiz and Molly Parker (although very better in "Pure") pours herself into the tough role of Florence almost as good as Jennifer Connely portrayed Marion in "Requiem for a Dream".
The film does have several flaws though. It has far too many sex scenes (often gratuitous), the chemistry between the two characters blooms and dies at any given time and the surprise ending is almost ruined by two scenes directly after the surprise (you'll have to see for yourself).
"Center of the World" is a good film worth watching once.
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