© 1991 Cheap Date

Whore (1991)

Ken Russell’s Whore is a movie I have known about for a long time, and just never got around to seeing. It was released shortly after Kafka, which I was obsessed with at the time, and also starred Theresa Russell. I was also a big fan of Ken Russell’s Altered States at the time. I also heard that this was made as a response to the fairy tale tone of Pretty Woman, which led me to believe that this might actually be good.

Although this is shot in a pseudo-documentary style, with Theresa Russell talking straight to the camera for most of the film, it is not what it pretends to be, namely the brutally honest portrayal of a the life prostitute. Although it does make an effort to touch on some hard-hitting issues about prostitution and sexuality, the whole thing has a very unreal and stage category‚ÄĒpossibly because this was adapted from a one-woman stage play, without much effort going into the “adaptation.” The film rests wholly on Theresa Russell, and although she is not a terrible actress, she is trying far to hard to be a crude, foul-mouthed street smart girl, which gets annoying fast. There is also the poor production values, looking like this whole thing was shot on cheap video cameras on soap opera sets. Pretty Woman can be criticized for turning the life of a prostitute into into a fairy tale, but Whore could be criticized for turning it into cheaply shot melodrama.

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