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Call Girl (2007)

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A crime thriller involving political corruption.


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Title: Call Girl (2007)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Soraia Chaves ...
Nicolau Breyner ...
Carlos Meireles
José Raposo ...
José Eduardo ...
Maria João Abreu ...
Custódia Gallego ...
Ana Padrão ...
Virgílio Castelo ...
Health Minister
Luís Mascarenhas ...
Sofia Grilo ...
Daniela Faria ...
Raul Solnado ...
Joaquim Leitão ...


A crime thriller involving political corruption.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

thong | dominatrix | See All (2) »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

27 December 2007 (Portugal)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Cinematic orthography
27 January 2008 | by (Porto, Portugal) – See all my reviews

There were very interesting things done here, some things not that common in Portuguese films, but other things i thought to be messy.

Its main flaw might be to try to be many things at the same time. It's not that it isn't possible, but it's not well solved here. So, we have someone honest, but immoral (his weak point), lots of corruption, and some redeeming issues (love?). It might be a film of social impact (Portugal SA made it 4 years ago, with a relative success), in America we might think of films such as 'Wall Street', 'All the president's men' or 'Wag the dog'. Can we link that to a noir driven construction? maybe. 'Wag the dog' did it. Here we have the detective, we have a 'femme', maybe fatal. Let's talk about her:

The director (and i suppose the collective will of Portuguese film goers) is trying to define an image to our girl. She has talent, i think, she may have the looks if she's well used, but she's got to have a cinematic personality. By now, cinema gave us a full variety of female postures, it's a matter of choosing what suits her best. I personally don't think she may be Marylin Monroe, as it was hinted here, even though mixed with the idea of controlling woman as, say, Sharon Stone probably performed it in the beginning of the nineties. But i frankly think she might have been a Hitch's blond, but as a brunette (i personally think a Portuguese femme fatal wouldn't be brunette... this is intuition or preconception, i don't know). So, by now, i'd model Soraia Chaves after Novak, Hedren and Kelly. She would not suit the Hepburn-Hepburn-Roberts tradition, nor the parallel close shot tradition Falconetti-Karinna. All these women live much on the face, on the smile, on expression. Soraia sticks better, to my view, to the small moves, to the implicit actions, she is more Dietrich than Monroe. But she also has "sex stamped on her face" as Hitchcock might have said. Or maybe she has been misportraited so far in her short career. Vasconcelos compared her to Ava Gardner; it would be interesting to see Ava Gardner stick to her. Let us wait and see.

Back to the plot: we had the noir hints and the social flaws theme. But the game is opened, the mystery is gone, and besides the morality and real intentions of our girl, there's little more to find out. So the noir, which could work, is gone. As noir, i understand the ability to place the spectator behind the specific vision of a character (here that one might have been Ivo Canelas) and let the spectator know as much as that character but with the feeling that some outer force, god, superior character is moving the strings and pupeteering the whole action, out of our site. The fact that Canelas had in fact a past relation with Soraia Chaves could work perfectly in this logic of superior forces, fate... American cinema is exquisite in the way it handles with these things. In fact, just before i went to the theatre to watch this i had seen Ace in the Hole, by Wilder (a "non"? author) and this is all there: the ambiguity on whether Douglas is writing the story or not, and than who is writing it. A film has to come embedded on these deeper notions in order to fully work. Otherwise it's limp, incomplete. That's a lesson one can take from American cinema, and can't understand how Vasconcelos skipped it (since he wrote the story). So, from the moment the decision is to let the spectator get to know everything at stake, every move, on and of "stage", the interest in following this sticks to acting and directing. Here are the strong aspects of the film, which make the whole experience worthwhile. The last expression in Nicolau Breyner's face is heartbreaking, that ability Breyner had to tell us so much out of a face is something i'll keep with me wherever i go. The upper angle in that shot helps. And the whole direction is focused, much more than the storyline or the scriptwriting. The editing is not perfect, but it is competent, Vasconcelos has a very interesting way to "disapear" in order to bring out his stories and specific scenes (here he truly is what he intends to) so his moves are always subtle, and enough.

So, i believe we needed stronger writing here, to bring all this to another level, the kind of writing of 'Os imortais', which was much more clear, focused, and interesting. This one has problems with cinematic orthography, and it kills a good part of the experience

My opinion: 3/5 the acting and directing make up partially for the flaws

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