Review: Roxy

Premise:

Roxy is an ageing prostitute working in a trailer on the German- Luxembourgish border. After being rescued from a brutal rape, she meets a young man whose intentions are unclear to her.

Review:

This film is an exercise in filmmakers trusting the audience. Dropping us into the story as events are already very much in motion, Roxy opens with a young man arriving at an off-road ‘lovemobile’. He is obviously out of place but clearly there intentionally. He then proceeds to save a prostitute from being assaulted by an abusive client after which, it becomes clear that this prostitute, the titular Roxy, has no idea who he is. The rest of the film unfolds based around a central dramatic question; who is this man and why is he here?

The mode by which the above questions are answered is via a brilliantly performed and expertly paced narrative in which director Fabien Colas guides Roxy (Christiane Rausch) and her mystery rescuer Jeff (Emile Schlesser pulling quadruple duties as the film’s producer, co-writer and editor) through the difficult truths regarding why Jeff is there.

What is notable about this film is how much is said and not spoken. Much of the communication between these characters is done in the pauses, the breaks in dialogue in which statements are made and received in silent realisation. Colas is unafraid to get up close and personal with his actors, stripping away the protection from the discomfort of the truths they have to reckon with. Every suppressed reaction, every flick of the eye, every twitch no matter how subtle is captured with crystal clarity.

Colas’ eye for performance as well as the performances themselves are enabled by some stunning cinematography from Olivier Koos. Between capturing the starkness of a storm-covered almost monochromatic existence during the portions of the film that occur outside Roxy’s trailer to the insanely detailed collision of red and blue during the scene inside, everything in this film’s imagery is immersive and intimate.

The beautifully crafted visuals are complimented by the equally impressive sound design. Harnessing the atmospheric sounds of the wind and rain, Colas, by way of some excellent post sound work by Antti Pirskanen, manages to use the storm in which the story takes place, to reflect Jeff’s state of mind, almost to the point of it standing in for a musical score (until the soothing piano score of Michel Reis kicks in during the film’s second half).

Despite some visceral and frenetic moments at the film’s opening, this film is surprisingly tender both in terms of the delivery of Rausch and Schlesser’s performances and in terms of the application of top-level craft. We are drawn into the story emotionally and experience this pivotal moment in the lives of two people whose lives could not be more different, yet irrevocably drawn together.

Given the short runtime of approximately 8 minutes, Colas and crew do well to hook our attention so quickly and to keep us invested as the film shifts tack after its opening. This is a story told with affection and sensitivity and a fantastic example of character-based storytelling.


Studio: Milli Productions/Chromatik/Nodium | Year: 2015 | Genre: Drama | Duration: 8 Mins | Suitability: Mature


Cast:

Emile Schlesser, Christiane Rausch


Crew:

Director: Fabien Colas | Producer: Emile Schlesser | Writers: Fabien Colas, Emile Schlesser


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