A Call Girl opens as 23-year-old Aleksandra (Nina Ivanisin in her feature film debut) arrives at a hotel room only to find her scheduled customer is having a heart attack. A prostitute with a conscience, she makes a quick phone call to alert hotel security before escaping down the stairwell into the night.
Ivanisin will mesmerize audiences with her cool apathy which gives way to a growing vulnerability. As a university student who broke away from her village to live in the capital, Aleksandra obtains a mortgage for her own flat in the city - a feat which mystifies her school friends. Her forays to various hotels add an air of adventure to an often dreary existence. Aleksandra never knows who will be behind the door she knocks on, or what exactly each man will request.
News headlines declare that her ill client was a prominent politician who was found dead. As police search for her during their investigation, Aleksandra's well organized life begins to unravel. When a pair of pimps targets her in order to skim money in exchange for protection, the young woman flees back home to live with her father Edo (Peter Musevski), a genial rock and roll singer who is returning to the club scene. As she rediscovers her ties to a community and her divorced mother and father, Aleksandra reconnects with herself.
A Call Girl looks in-depth at one member of a social phenomenon. A Call Girl was featured at the Toronto Film Festival. Ivanisin won the Best Actress award at the Valencia Festival of Mediterranean Cinema.
“Imagine that – a call girl goes by the name of 'Slovenian Girl,'” Edo informs his daughter Alexandra over breakfast, delighted that she's come home to spend the weekend with him in her home village away from the hustle and bustle of big city university life.
Yet what he doesn't realize is that her arrival that particular weekend is no accident. For although he's in the dark, we know that the twenty-three year old dark haired quiet girl he endearingly calls Sasha sitting opposite him as he reads the morning newspaper is precisely the one for whom the police are looking and about whom the journalist is writing.
Namely, the call girl who goes by the name of 'Slovenian Girl' and switches off her brain, going into autopilot while selling her body for two hundred Euros is his own seemingly studious English exam cramming daughter.
To this end, Edo continues to give pocket change for chewing gum in addition to rent money to his darling Sasha, not realizing that she doesn't really need it but accepts it anyway to flatter his fatherly ego and keep up the deception after having unwisely taken out a mortgage to pay for a luxurious flat.
As Slovenia presides over the European Union in 2008, writer/director Damjan Kozole introduces us to a seedier side of the country in which young women take out personal ads in incredibly small font, offering sex in exchange for Euros.
Despite its pseduo-docudrama approach that makes the film reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience, Kozole's film kicks off with a protracted conflict that pushes at least half of the work into the terrain of an underworld crime thriller.
Having arrived at a hotel only to find a German parliamentary member of the Union experiencing a heart attack most likely caused by Viagra, Sasha phones for help all the while cleaning out his wallet without a thought before the man dies on her watch.
Escaping before the police arrive on the scene, even though lowlife pimps manage to track her down since they're all too familiar with her Slovenian Girl handle, soon Sasha has no choice but to start over once again by placing a new ad with a new code name to avoid the forced blackmail and takeover by hoodlums.
Unfortunately, this all sounds much more exciting than it truly is as Kozole throws a few other cliched dilemmas her way by giving Sasha far too many under-developed plotlines that include romantic trouble, economic crisis, school complications and a laughably convenient, predictable run-in on the job with someone she knows in her life back home.
Uneven in tone and pulling us in too many directions at once, the film is further bogged down by the downright bored portrayal of Sasha by an either miscast or woefully misdirected uncharismatic newcomer Nina Ivanisin.
And although it's never a mandated prerequisite that we must like our main character, it helps if we at least could've better understood who she is and what led her to this life aside from an easily apparent moral flexibility and money lust.
Obviously the premise of yet another prostitute movie isn't generally a great draw in the world of foreign or independent film and the poorly titled A Call Girl brings nothing new to the table.
It's even more disappointing when you not only compare it to Kozole's earlier Film Movement work Spare Parts but also when you discover the fact that Call Girl's trailer included a monologue by Sasha about Sasha that may have cleared up a few things had it been left in the feature film.
In other words, your best bet here would be to go with the real Sasha – Sasha Grey that is -- by picking up her Soderbergh collaboration The Girlfriend Experience instead.
(Rated by 3 Council Members)