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Jake is a driver for a seedy escort service operating out of 'The Naked Eye strip club', he's a street thug type who falls for a witty high-class escort named Sandy. Except one night Sandy is found murdered, the only clues left behind are cell phone calls made the night she died. To avenge Sandy's death Jake must risk everything and walk a bloody path to find her killer. Written by
The bar that Samantha Streets and Jason Yee's characters go to have a drink and dance in a flashback is the same bar that Rosario Dawson and Josh Hartnett's characters have a drink and dance in Girl Walks Into a Bar. See more »
When it comes to independent film screeners, no film impressed us more in recent memory than David Ren's The Girl From the Naked Eye. The film stars newcomer Jason Yee as Jake, a driver for an escort service who takes on the role as heavy when his gambling debts spiral out of control.
In the sordid world of prostitution, Jake find a diamond in the rough a young 16-year old runaway named Sandy (Samantha Streets) who is working as a prostitute for Simon (Ron Yuan), a high ranking thug in a world of unlawful activities. But as we learn in the opening chapter, Sandy is murdered and Jake will make it his ambition to find out who was responsible and make them pay with his own form of justice.
Jake's investigation will work outside of the police inquiry and each promising lead will take him through the underbelly of a criminal enterprise where countless ruffians are just chompin' at the bit at a chance to take their best shot against the inquisitive Jake.
The Girl From the Naked Eye is told with both flashbacks and a narrative style that is quite impressive from relatively novice writers Jason Yee and Larry Madill. The narrative in particular doesn't add fluff nor does it try and infuse humor into a character that is serious to the core in his pursuit. The flashbacks were also expertly placed and allow for us to understand better Jakes attachment to Sandy while allowing the present day story to unfold in detail.
Most impressive in the production are the fight sequences which are truly top rate. Jake primarily uses his fists to parade through countless brutes in his search for the truth. And the sequences are handled with the precision of a craftsman. A particular scene of Jake fighting a handful of guards in the hallway of a building complex reminded us of OldBoy and was clearly the highlight of the film.
The film was purposefully shot in the darkened crevasses of the city and the film will hardly be one that the anti-smoking lobbyists will endorse. There weren't many bright colors, if any, in the film and I respected the look and atmosphere that was orchestrated by director David Ren.
The story was good, but not perfect. There were a few dead ends and a few troubled spots where I might have had pieces of a scene left on the cutting room floor but for the majority of the very brisk 85-minute running time, the plot moves forward and the audience is largely entertained. And although the biggest baddest villain in the film (played by Gary Stretch) is admirable, he is not as mean and relentless as you might expect out of such a genre film.
The cast in The Girl From the Naked Eye (oh, we should add here that the Naked Eye was the name of a seedy strip club to where most of the characters have connections) all do outstanding work in large and bit roles and Dominique Swain and Sasha Grey both have blink-and-you'll-miss-em scenes that do nothing more than add their name to various search engines pointing to the film.
The sum of its parts results in a film that was directed with a clear vision, choreographed with surgical precision and scripted in a down-to-earth format allowing for a high return on the entertainment dollar.
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