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Quid Pro Quo (I) (2008)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  20 January 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,043 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 19 user | 34 critic | 13 from

A semi-paralyzed radio reporter is sent out to investigate a story that leads him into an odd subculture and on a journey of disturbing self-realization.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Janice Musslewhite
Man on Sidewalk
Charlene Coke
Carmela Marner ...
A Female Wannabe
Wannabe Group Leader
A Male Wannabe
Man with Trachea Tube
Isaac's Mom
Isaac's Dad


Isaac Knott is a public radio reporter in New York, in a wheelchair since an auto accident in which his parents died. He's on the rebound from a relationship when he gets a tip about people who want to be disabled, who offer money to interns to cut off a limb. He searches out a group of these wannabes, but none will talk to him. Then he meets his tipster, Fiona Ankany, an art conservator, attractive and attracted to him. She discloses her desire to be disabled, to be in a wheelchair. Meanwhile, Isaac tries on a pair of wing-tips, spectators, that restore feeling to his feet. What are the connections? What's Fiona's quid pro quo? Will Isaac get his story? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A strange new American dream.


R | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

20 January 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Valamit, valamiért  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,395 (USA) (13 June 2008)


$7,395 (USA) (13 June 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


[first lines]
Isaac: I don't remember *any* of what I'm about to tell you. I only know what the police and coroner's report said. But on the morning of April 5th, 1989, a high-speed car crash occurred, on a rural highway in upstate New York. There were 2 fatalities: my mother died on impact, my father died of hemorrhaging from a torn pulmonary vein and massive internal injuries. I'm listed as a male survivor, approximately 8 years of age. We were going down a road. Nobody had said much of anything yet....
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References Frankenstein (1931) See more »


Jake Walk Blues
Written by Austin Allen and Lee Allen
Performed by The Allen Brothers
Courtesy of The Viper Label
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User Reviews

Glad I saw it
29 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this film on the closing night of Sundance, mostly because all the other films I wanted to see were sold out. I'm glad I went. Nick Stahl and Vera Farmiga dance adeptly around and through the film's premise, which is coaxed pleasantly out of a screenplay that writer-director Carlos Brooks has polished over seven years.

Stahl plays a public radio reporter confined to a wheelchair since a childhood accident. While following a lead in a bizarre story, he meets Fiona (Farmiga), a mysterious woman who leads him into a reclusive subculture. At first, microphone in hand, he wants the story. But then a trip to a second-hand store for some shoes convinces him the story isn't what he thought it was.

The Sundance catalogue billed it as a "psychological thriller," but in my opinion that misses the mark. Yes, we're introduced to some oddly quirky characters along the way. But Brooks bills is as a detective story, and that's how I think it's best approached. It's an exercise in restrained exposition that keeps the viewer guessing right up until the film's final scenes.

As with most independent films, this one makes good use of small-scale locations and intimate moments. Even the Manhattan exteriors favor enclosed sidewalks and narrow passages. The cinematography, done on high-definition video, is crisply executed and richly textured with subtle but effective details. (The lustrous wallpaper in Fiona's apartment actually has its own screen credit.) The camera spends a great deal of time at the eye level of a wheelchair occupant, emphasizing the point of view and expanding the small spaces in which many of the film's scenes take place.

Stahl and Farmiga drive a substantial portion of the film by themselves. Brooks admits that the their story took over the film as he shot and edited it. As a result the supporting ensemble retreats to the distance, a position from which performances from James Frain (as Stahl's mentor) and Michal Leamer (Fiona's mother) can give brief but memorable performances.

Vera Farmiga creates a complex character whom you can't help loving, hating, and fearing all at the same time. Nick Stahl's performance stays even and understated until his veneer breaks apart and the detective story comes full circle.

The only negative aspect to the film is the frank treatment of the subculture that frames the principal characters, not because the treatment is unfair or poorly executed, but because it's likely to take the average viewer by surprise. Look for wide release in May 2008.

61 of 78 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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