New Thriller Is Like Dark Mirror for Cam Females
In the new thriller Cam, which premieres simultaneously upon Netflix and in theaters upon Friday, pretty much everything that cam girl Alice (The Handmaid’ s Tale’ s Madeline Brewer) fears might happen does. What surprises, although, is the specificity of her fears. Alice is worried, of course , that her mom, younger brother, and the associated with their small town in New Mexico will discover her night job. And she’ s probably not alone in her worries that a consumer or two will breach the substantial but understandably not perfect wall that she has created between her professional and personal lives. But most of her days are spent fretting about the details of her work: Does her react push enough boundaries? Which usually patrons should she develop relationships with— and at which will others’ expense? Can the lady ever be online enough to crack her site’ s Top 50?
Alice is a making love worker, with all the attendant dangers and occasional humiliations— and this moody, neon-lit film hardly ever shies away from that simple fact. But Alice is also an artist. In front of the camera, she’ s a convincing celebrity and improviser as the sweet but fanciful “ Lola. ” Behind it, she’ s a writer, a movie director, and a set designer. (Decorated with oversize flowers and teddy bears, the free bedroom that she uses as her set seems to be themed Barbie After Hours. ) So when the unimaginable happens— Alice’ s account can be hacked, and a doppelgä nger starts performing her act, with less creativity but more popularity— her indignation is ours, as well.
The film finds stakes— and a resolution— whose freshness is not easy to understate.
But Cam takes its time getting to that mystery. That’ s more than fine, while the film, written by ex – webcam model Isa Mazzei and first-time director Daniel Goldhaber, immerses us inside the dual economies of intimacy work and online focus. The slow reveal from the day-to-day realities of cam-girling is the movie’ s real striptease— all of it surrounded by an aura of authenticity. (Small-bladdered Alice, for example , constantly apologizes to her clients for the frequency of her bath room visits. ) And though Alice denies that her selected career has anything to carry out with a personal sense of female empowerment, the film assumes an unspoken nevertheless unmissable feminist consideration of sex work. The disjunct between Alice’ s appearing regularness and Lola’ ersus over-the-top performances— sometimes affecting blood capsules— is the tip of the iceberg. More exciting is the sense of safety and control that webcam-modeling allows— and how illusory that can become when individual entitlement gets unleashed via social niceties.
If the first half of Camera is pleasantly episodic and purringly tense, the latter half— in which Alice searches for her hacker— is clever, inventive, and wonderfully evocative. A form of Black Mirror for camera girls, its frights happen to be limited to this tiny piece of the web, but believe it or not resonant for that. We see Alice strive to maintain a certain regular of creative rawness, even while she’ s pressured by machine in front of her to become something of an automaton little. And versions of the picture where a desperate Alice message or calls the cops for assist with the hack, only to get faced with confusion about the net and suspicion about her job, have doubtlessly performed out countless times before two decades. At the intersection of the industry that didn’ big t exist a decade ago and an ageless trade that’ s seldom portrayed candidly in popular culture, the film finds stakes— and a resolution— whose freshness is hard to understate.
The wonderfully versatile Coffee maker, who’ s in just about any scene, pulls off essentially three “ characters”: Alice, Alice as Lola, and Bizarro Lola. It’ t a bravura performance that flits between sexo com peludas several realities while keeping the film grounded as the plot changes make narrative leap after narrative leap. Cam’ ersus villain perhaps represents extra an admirable provocation over a satisfying answer. But with many of these naked ambition on display, who also could turn away