Sleeping Beauty

Year: 2011
Production Co: Screen Australia
Director: Julia Leigh
Producer: Jane Campion
Writer: Julia Leigh
Cast: Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Chris Haywood, Hugh Keays-Byrne

I'm often surprised by how many films you'd normally consider misogynist are made by women. Jane Campion is only the producer on this film, but she bought us the sexually charged In the Cut a few years back, a similar movie with well-dressed stylings and a a similarly languorous pace. It seems like filmmakers are all obsessed with naked chicks, but where a male director will give us American Pie or Porky's, a woman will give us Sleeping Beauty.

If you're in the mood for something zippy and accessible steer well clear – it's strictly one for the black turtleneck brigade. While there might be a time, place and mood to enjoy it and see the deeper themes, I found it disappeared up its own arse.

It's about Lucy (a Browning, not really relying on any more than her doe-eyes and plenty of naked flesh), a university student who enters a high class prostitution ring to pay her fees and put her strange, drug addicted friend through rehab.

But it's a special kind of prostitution. First Lucy is just serving dinner to a clique of powerful, rich old men in racy lingerie. The next step is when her classy, refined madam (Blake) gives her something that knocks her out so each old man can do whatever they like as long as they don't penetrate her.

I had trouble connecting the dots in the story but that might just be the near-interminable pace – it's one of those films where the essential plot could be told in about quarter of an hour. Browning is pretty but way to petite and skinny to be sexy and while it was the right project to expand her talents after Sucker Punch, she doesn't quite have the chops to bring the character of Lucy off the page very much. Ironically despite the amount of flesh on display you've seldom seen a less erotic movie.

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