You Are Alone
A man in his forties, who
has become an alcoholic, a bit of a shut in and an emotional wreck in the
years since losing his wife, is invited to a bachelor party. While
there, he is surprised to find out that the stripper who was hired to
"entertain" the party is actually the teenaged daughter of his next-door
neighbors. Soon afterwards, he calls her and to meet him at a local
hotel – one which he used to frequent with his wife when they were just
dating. He opens the door to let her in where he has a bed, some
alcohol and a whole lot of money.
From this setup, you may
think you know where things are going in You Are Alone, but you will
most likely be wrong.
You Are Alone is not
about the power or emotional blackmail that the man could hold over the
girl. Nor is it about the power of her youthful sexuality to hold him
captive to his lusts and weaknesses. Both of these are touched upon,
of course, but the movie is much more interested in digging deeper into the
psyches of its participants.
You Are Alone
is not about sex, though the two leads do discuss that readily and with
sometimes-disturbing frankness. It's more of a tango. The great
majority of the film takes place in the room with only Buddy (Richard
Brundage) and Daphne (Jessica Bohl) participating. There are regular
flashes backwards and forwards in time from this momentous meeting, but they
are generally short and only illuminate what is going on in the hotel.
No other characters really
intrude on the storyline except for in how they have brought Buddy and
Daphne to where they are in life. Even his wife (they never let you
know whether she died or left him until the very end) is only seen in
sepia-toned romantic flashback which feel like vacation videos. She
seems more of symbol of his loneliness than a whole realistic character –
just as she would appear in his rose-colored recollections.
Buddy and Daphne sit around
the room in various states of undress, however mostly what they do is talk.
They are obviously both – for reasons of their own – avoiding acting upon
the reason that the have met. He questions her about how she got
involved in being an escort. At first she is somewhat glib about the
whole thing, but eventually the real reasons slowly come about. She
tries to find out what has happened to his life since losing his wife.
For all of this to work,
you need to have good performances to carry it and Bohl is amazing –
bridging sexiness and innocence, seductiveness and shyness, sadness and
ennui. Brundage is extremely good as well, but his character is more
obviously damaged to the point where it is hard to look at him in any other
way – therefore he is more of a one-note character.
You Are Alone
is somewhat reminiscent of Atom Egoyan's wonderful
psycho-drama Exotica – also about an older man's relationship with a
younger sex worker which turns out to be much more complex, layered and
vital than it originally appeared. You Are Alone is not quite
the equal of that masterpiece (no big crime), but in certain ways it is
superior. It is more focused and disciplined and does not swerve off
into as many unnecessary subplots.
When the two finally reach
the intimate act for which they both came to the sordid room, it is much
darker and more harrowing than you could possibly imagine. (3/07)
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Posted: March 2, 2007.