Cinema Review: Call Girl


DIR: Mikael Marcimain • WRI: Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten• PRO: Mimmi Spång • ED: Kristofer Nordin • DOP: Hoyte Van Hoytema  DES: Michael Higgins, Lina Nordqvist • CAST: Sofia Karemyr, Simon J. Berger, Josefin Asplund

Like most good stories it seems reality wins out over fiction every time. Call Girl tells the story of underage prostitution in the world of high society. Hidden behind a curtain of glitz and glamour a truly painful and disturbing story of child grooming is unveiled.

Set in Stockholm in the late 1970s on the cusp of a Swedish scandal known as Bordellhärvan, the story is based around a shamefully corrupt world of politicians, prostitution, drugs, and stripping discotheques. Iris Dahl (Sofia Karemyr) is a young adolescent girl who is living in a youth house for troubled teens when she is recruited into a sordid underworld with her friend. Dagmar Glans (Pernilla August) is at the heart of the recruitment, buying the girls clothes, giving them money and fuelling them with alcohol and drugs under the rouse of befriending and mothering the girls. This gives a very tangible and dark look into how grooming takes place with disconcerting ease for the abusers involved. There are scenes that make for somewhat difficult and uneasy viewing at times. It is shot fly-on-the-wall style, albeit one that could be swatted at any moment if discovered.

Casting was fantastic both for the believable performances and the non-conventional Hollywood glamorized body types we are all accustomed to seeing in movies nowadays, which works well with the film’s documentary style, however it could have moved along a lot faster. Understandably the director has shown the amount of time and effort that goes into grooming when money is at stake.

Dagmar Glans is portrayed as a successful and enigmatic woman loved by “her girls” and clients. Nevertheless she herself partakes not only in the “parties” but in prostitution which makes her quite perplexing but also intriguing. Unfortunately due to the underdevelopment of some of the main players and the missed opportunity to delve more into Glans’ world you’re left with lots of unanswered questions. This might have been the idea behind some of the choices in the film but obviously not all of them. I really wanted to know why Glans involved herself as much as she did in the repugnant lifestyle, we might have been able to empathise or understand her a little if this was explained slightly, instead, I couldn’t have cared less what happened to her!

Overall it works as whistle-blower type movie managing to shine a light on certain people in authority, surrounding the alleged illegal underage prostitution and sleazy activities occurring in the Swedish government department and high-profile organizations.


Lynn Larkin

140 mins
Call Girl is released on 16th August 2013



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