Dir: Robert Cavanah. UK. 2010. 84mins
Actor Robert Cavanah strays into familiar territory with his directorial debut Pimp, a faux-documentary thriller set in the London sex trade. Poised between the laddish larks of a Guy Ritchie romp and the more serious-minded intensity of Nikolas Winding Refn’s original Pusher, the film deploys handheld camerawork, freeze frames and potty-mouthed macho posturing to diminishing effect.
Liberally peppered with sleazy sex, casual violence and endless swearing, Pimp veers so close to caricature that it quickly grows tiresome.
A small UK theatrical release is scheduled for May 21, but prospects seem slim in a territory where audiences may well be suffering from Danny Dyer fatigue after a surfeit of similar low-life wallows featuring this actor. A cast of familiar faces (Billy Boyd, Martin Compston etc) and adults-only subject matter could make it more viable in ancillary markets.
Cavanah is the co-writer, co-producer, director and star of a film in which he casts himself as Woody, a London pimp who agrees to be followed by a documentary camera crew for one week.
The story unfolds in tight close-ups and direct-to-camera confessionals as Woody copes with a missing prostitute, aggressive Chinese gangsters, a snuff movie, eviction from his apartment and sinister club boss Stanley (Dyer). It’s no wonder he starts to question his life.
Liberally peppered with sleazy sex, casual violence and endless swearing, Pimp veers so close to caricature that it quickly grows tiresome. Moments of grim humour provide some welcome respite as the plot stumbles towards a cynical resolution.
Production companies: Triple S Films, Cinematic Productions
Int’l Sales: Stealth Media Group, www.stealthmediagroup
Producers: Crispin Manson, Matthew Standing, Paul de Vos, Royd Tolkien
Screenplay: Jon Kirby, Robert Cavanah
Cinematography: Steve Annis
Editor: Rob Redford
Production designer: Simon Pickup
Main cast: Danny Dyer, Billy Boyd, Robert Cavanah, Martin Compston, Scarlett Alice Johnson, Corey Johnson