Directed by: John Fraser
Written by: John Fraser
Starring: Peter D Flaherty, Sarah Timm, Krista Vendy, Jack Campbell, Kym Valentine, Lee Mason
A photographer attempts to rescue a young girl from a life of prostitution and create a better life for himself.
Eugene (Flaherty) lives with his ill father in a rundown neighborhood. He photographs people in the streets, as they commit bad deeds, such as assaulting and taking drugs. He tries to sell the pictures to an arts magazine. One night, he finds out that a group of criminals are operating an illegal brothel in his area. Later, he sees one of the unfortunate girls being taken to the hospital and he decides to rescue her. The girl's name is Josephine (Timm), an illegal immigrant. Unfortunately, the leader of the crooks, Daddy (Campbell) finds them and demands a large sum of money in order to leave them alone. Eugene and Josephine go to desperate measures in order to raise the money and move on.
Taking place during the nineties, this Australian, hard-hitting thriller provides an insight into the world of illegal immigration and forced prostitution. It explores the struggles of unprivileged individuals but at the same time, it shows the goodness of the human spirit. There are many uncomfortable and distressing scenes, including nudity and a rape scene. But the film also has moments of tenderness, particularly in the relationship that develops between Eugene and Josephine.
Flaherty is very convincing as a well-meaning, socially awkward person, who dreams of better days and becomes determined to help Josephine. Timm delivers a heartbreaking performance as an individual who lives an awful life and has been through devastating times and wants to escape from prostitution. Campbell is rather menacing as the ruthless, coldhearted leader of the villains and serves as the main antagonist.
Shot in black-and-white, the cinematography gives the film a bleak look, which serves it well, giving the nature of its contents. Fraser directs well, generating terrific establishing shots. There is also a montage, which makes effective use of superimposition.
The score by Asher Pope fits very well with the scenes. It is dramatic, tense and emotional and creates the idyllic atmosphere when it is added.
Choir Girl is quite a dark film, focusing a great deal on the bad side of the world, such as prostitution and crime. There is a lot of suffering and there does not seem to be much hope for the heroes. This movie is not for everyone, but it is very well made, with great acting, interesting characters and an intruiging plot. It is worthy of praise and recognition.