The Girlfriend Experience (15)

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The Independent Culture

After the popcorn satire of The Informant! comes another of Steven Soderbergh's experimental pictures, this one a glimpse into the life of Manhattan call-girl Chelsea (played by real-life porn star Sasha Grey).

Shot in casual, fake-intimate fashion, it eavesdrops on the transactional nature of Chelsea's relationship with her clients, most of whom seem to be in finance – as if having sex with them isn't bad enough, she's also obliged to listen to them bellyache about the economic downturn. Inevitably, relations with her boyfriend (Chris Santos) degenerate, and now she's got a bad review from a website "sex connoisseur". What Soderbergh's film wants to say is uncertain: That a prostitute has business problems like everyone else? That her johns seem a pretty sleazy lot? That "everyone is a critic"? None of these qualify as revelatory.