Suzie Heartless (2009)

DVD Cover (Alternative Cinema)
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Wendy McColm
Wendy McColm
Andrea Davis
Andrea Davis
Liana Davis
Liana Davis
Ray Calloway
Ray Calloway
Ivan Salvatore
Ivan Salvatore
Review by Chad
Added: January 07, 2009
I watched Suzie Heartless earlier tonight, and after the credits had rolled, I did something that I very rarely do: I watched it again with the commentary track turned on. You see, this is a film that is pretty damned powerful when taken at face value, but I just had to see if there was something more to it, something hidden between the lines that I may have missed. I did catch a few things during my second viewing that I would have completely missed out on if I had simply pressed eject after the first viewing and I learned a couple of neat facts about the production, but for the most part, I was almost entirely correct in my initial assumption. This is a film that has no hidden message and no deeper meaning; for better or worse, it is content to present us with a couple of days in the hard life of a teenage prostitute (Wendy McColm). There's no happy ending, there's no revenge angle, and there's no major plot twists... we're just going along for the ride and watching as this little lady suffers at the hand of her johns and her pimp, and we get the "pleasure" of seeing what this abuse does to her in the end.

I generally write a small introduction piece in my reviews before moving on to the plot outline, but I can't do that here as I've basically given away the entire plot outline already. Sure, there's a few events that I'm leaving out, and yes, the storyline does have a few surprises in store for its viewers, but this is really a very simple film to describe when it comes to telling you readers what it's about. Suzie is a young prostitute, so young that she would probably get a couple of her clients thrown into jail on charges of statutory rape if the police cared enough to prosecute, and we watch her go through the daily routine of servicing her clients. Most of them are abusive towards her, and it quickly becomes painfully obvious that this girl just needs someone who cares about her... but in the life of a hooker, that never comes.

Now, I know what you're thinking: this sounds like nothing more than a softcore porno flick disguised as a drama, right? You're going to get a bunch of sex scenes and a handful of women showing off the goods that their mothers gave them, and there's going to be a paper-thin storyline attached to give it some level of credibility. Let me squash that idea right now: while there is certainly some nudity to be found from more than one lady, to say that this is an erotic movie would be a stretch unless you get off on watching a woman cry while another woman forcibly violates her, or unless you have a "girl getting pounded while weeping and puking" fetish.

One thing about this film that was particularly interesting was the fact that it was completely silent. Well, you do hear the musical score and you also hear the leading lady cry, scream, groan, and moan over the course of the film, but in terms of actual dialogue, there's not a single word spoken from beginning to end. Granted, this is not a story that needs a script the size of a novel to tell, but I was impressed with how well Mrs. McColm pulled off her portrayal of this character solely with her facial expressions and body language. A lesser actress would not have been able to pull this role off, and considering that Suzie is in damned near every frame of the film, it should go without saying that this was an all-or-nothing move: you have a very interesting premise if you can pull it off, but you've got a colossal dud if you hand the role to someone who can't cut it. Thankfully, McColm was up to the task (and it doesn't hurt that she's extremely easy on the eyes).

Really, there's not much more than can be said. Suzie Heartless is not a film that will appeal to everyone, but you can't fault it for not delivering what it promised. It promised to show you the a few days in the life of a teenage prostitute, and it delivered that. It promised to be a hard film to watch by its general nature, and again, it definitely didn't disappoint in that regard. Most importantly, it promised to tell a story that was worth telling while keeping us glued to the screen, but at the same time making us want to turn away in disgust. Although I felt that there were a few scenes that should have been cut or trimmed down, I have to say that it did indeed deliver on that final promise, and thus, I believe that an 8/10 is in order.
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