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The True Voice of Prostitution (2006)



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20 April 2006 (UK)  »

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An interesting film that ends with a deeply impacting final section
26 March 2007 | by See all my reviews

A woman who has worked in prostitution for over a decade and has settled to where she is content. An elderly married man who uses high class escorts with his wife's knowledge. A young woman who came to London from Uganda at age 14 but ended up on the streets selling herself for sex for food. These three people talk openly and honestly about their lives and experiences.

I was quite looking forward to this film given how strong the previous film on rape had been. Originally scheduled to be released in 2006, the film was dropped from the schedules in response to the murders of Ipswich prostitutes being in the news. It was finally released in early 2007 and I caught it then. The approach of the film does make it less gripping than the rape film because not all the stories are "bad". For example "The Business" does have some bad things discussed but it is spoken by a woman who seems relatively at ease with what she does. Likewise "Upmarket Man" is quite matter of fact and based on an acceptance of what the speaker is doing. Both are interesting and engaging but lack the impact of the rape films. However the strongest film of the three does not lack that because Grace's story is one of horror. It balances out the "it can be OK" theme of the two previous sections because it is the part that says "yes, but it can also be utterly evil".

As before Brian Hill directs with an unobtrusive eye but still has good intimate shots that work well with the material and help make us feel like these are the real people talking. Sharp is good in the first story and does convince as someone who been there and done that in regards the business. Wilson is suitably cold and factual and the only slight downside is that his story is the least interesting because it is hard to really get into a man who buys sex without a worry for money or the girls. With the strongest section, Amuka-Bird is given the chance to dominate and indeed she does. I had a slight problem with her accent at first (but I forgot it) and I didn't think that she had the broken look I would expect for a woman who had been through that. However she does manage to capture the "right now" character and deals with the emotions of the words very well. I like her and wish she would be given more opportunity and fewer adverts – perhaps she needs to follow the lessons of other British black actors and figure out that the US will give her more work (although she has recently worked on a HBO mini-series so maybe she will follow the black UK stars of Oz, The Wire and others).

Overall then an interesting trio of real stories. The first two are interesting but perhaps lack impact, but this is made up for by the gut wrenching experience of just sitting and listening to Grace, convincingly delivered by Amuka-Bird.

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