This flick is the latest to come out of the inspired mind of Director Edgar Michael Bravo who is best known for his previous work THE THREE STAGES OF STAN. Edgar has a unique ability to empathize with the subjects of his film which becomes obvious in his latest piece ‘One Hour Fantasy Girl’. This movie is based on a true story (or possibly stories), and follows a period in the life of the main character Brandi who works as a One Hour Fantasy Girl (an escort service that does whatever their clients want as long as it involves no sex, and nothing illegal (and in Brandi’s case no kissing)). We follow Brandi (played with haunting effectiveness by Kelly-Ann Tursi) as she services one of her clients, her working relationship with her partner Chi Trang (played by Paul D. Nguyen), and as she struggles to save enough money to follow her real ambition which is a career in real estate.
Early in the movie it is made clear that Brandi is having an existential crisis. She is not happy at all with the life she’s been leading and, while never showing shame or disgust for her position, does have a moroseness about her as she goes about her day-to-day. The part is played to perfection and Kelly-Ann brings to mind an early Rachael Leigh Cook (circa the anti-drug ad where she is destroying a kitchen with a frying pan…Any questions?) Kelly-Ann seems to understand the character she is portraying and is able to let her outward beauty shine while at the same time giving us the haunted disposition of someone who has been in the game too long. One might expect her love interest in this movie to come from her partner Chi, a budding musician looking to make his big score with a record producer, but instead the director decided to go in a different direction and give her Bobby Richards (via a performance by Joe Luckay). Bobby comes to her as a client and soon, albeit reluctantly by Brandi, also becomes a white knight of sorts, and a way out of her life of service to other people. While I found Joe’s performance overall to be slightly immature (not a slight on his age, but more so his acting chops…Which given a few years I can see him developing into the type of actor see a lot on popular television sitcoms like The Hills, and other roles that would compliment his natural boyish nature and lean physique.) His performance overall was not bad in the least, and the role was filled acceptably. His young-ish looks actually act as a great deceptive device for later in the movie.
From a cinematography standpoint, the flick is shot exceptionally well, and the use of light (both warm and cold depending on the scene involved) did not slip by. The use of light in this movie almost plays as much of a character as the actors and actresses do and serves to almost punctuate a scene. The director’s use of medium and close-up shots serves to illustrate both the beauty of his characters, but also sometimes just laying them out as people, as people often are…Broken, beaten, fat, ugly, pretty, tall, thin, etc. The director does not spare the audience any visuals when it comes to showing what Brandi does for work. The taboo nature of the subject is underlined by the costumes and props that are used in the film, and it is unapologetic in their use. The way this film is stylized sometimes has one wondering whether or not the film is documentary or drama with its realism.
I am going to laud this movie but I want to take a second to reveal an issue I had with the story. I felt that the story seemed to be a tad heavy…Not in the way that the subject matter was, but in the way that I felt there was TOO much story, or that certain story elements weren’t handled in the manner which seemed logical (example is the obvious sexual tension between Brandi and Chi). I believe that this is mostly to do with time and budget constraints though, and while I still have to blame the director, as it is his piece, I’m not going to take it out on the movie itself.
ONE HOUR FANTASY GIRL Review
FILM SYNOPSIS - A street-smart 20-yr-old woman from a small town is determined to make the "big bucks" in real estate despite having no education and working as a dominatrix in Hollywood.