We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"I'm here for you," Claire Dolan tells one of her clients. "I can't get you out of my head," she whispers to another over the telephone. "You're not like other men," she tells a third. He is exactly like other men. All men are like other men when they visit a prostitute. "What do you want?" she says. "You can tell me." Lodge Kerrigan's "Claire Dolan" is a film about a woman whose knowledge of men encompasses everything except how to trust them and find happiness with them. She is a Manhattan prostitute, mid-priced, who presents herself as a quiet, almost shy woman dressed in understated good taste. She has none of the flamboyance of the typical movie hooker, is not voluptuous, looks her clients straight in the eye while lying to them about how much she's missed them. Some guys like that. Makes them think they're doing the poor deprived girl a favor.
Claire is played by Katrin Cartlidge (the sister-in-law in "Breaking the Waves") as a woman whose profession has given her an instinctive knowledge about how to deal with some men. There is a scene in the movie where she is seated in a bar, bothering no one, not looking for attention. Two men walk up. "I'm not looking for company," she says. "That's not your decision," says the first man, who is aggressive and menacing.
She seems in danger. She looks up at the man who is looming over her, his aggression pulsing in his face. Then she looks at his sidekick, who hangs back. "I prefer him," she says. "He's better-looking than you. Would you let him go first?" The scene is no longer than my description of it. It is just about perfect. She has changed the subject. She understands the tension that must exist between two men who have agreed to harass a woman. Beneath their relationship is a fear of women, which links to sexual insecurity; she has castrated the first by preferring the second, and called the bluff of the second by depriving him of his leader. The men are stopped cold, and skulk away.
Much of the movie consists of Claire Dolan's business dealings. Her clients are white-collar guys in offices and hotel rooms. They believe her praise. Maybe it's what they're really paying her for. She isn't very enthusiastic during sex--sometimes she seems repelled or indifferent--but the men don't notice or care. When she doesn't follow the script, though, they have a way of turning vicious.