Quid Pro Quo

Posted June 11, 2008 in Film

Via a cryptic hint from a woman named “Ancient Chinese Girl” about a man who offered a surgeon a quarter-mil to amputate his healthy legs, Isaac (Nick Stahl) a paralyzed reporter, is introduced to apotemnophiles, a secret society of those jealous of the handicapped. “Ancient Chinese Girl” turns out to be a knockout named Fiona (Vera Farmiga), a wannabe paraplegic who pairs lingerie with leg braces with the sexy swagger of a courtesan wearing thigh highs. (“I’m already paralyzed,” she insists. “I’m just trapped in a walking person’s body.”) Writer-director Carlos Brooks’ confident debut starts like a social problem film about Isaac’s struggle to get dates or cabs. It becomes a moody, measured noir about liberation and fear that keeps audiences stumbling along after the latest plot twist. But the film works best when it moves away from its Crash origins and delights in moments of sly irony, as when Isaac’s condition so unnerves a dank, basement meeting of wannabes that they stand, pack up their chairs, and literally run up the stairs. (Amy Nicholson)



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