Call Girl

In DVD/Blu-ray by Dan Clay

At a time when some of the country’s most regarded ‘70s celebrities are now facing all manner of sexual accusations, Mikael Marcimain’s Call Girl couldn’t have come at a better time. Taking inspiration from the true tale of Sweden’s Geijer Scandal of the mid-70s, this is a different world from the murderous Nordic Noir BBC4 viewers lap up, even if it’s just as gritty.

When Iris (Sofia Karemyr) and Sonja (Josefin Asplund) are taken in by brothel Madam Dagmar (Pernilla August) what begins at first as a few seedy parties soon develops into a prostitution ring that will send shockwaves through the highest levels of politics and policing in the country.

With a keen eye for era detail and ambience, Marcimain has fashioned a visually accurate portrayal of the decade that’s worlds away from the pristine pop of Abba; don’t expect them on the soundtrack by the way.

As the girls’ situation becomes apparent, Marcimain’s loungey vibe and disco-themed palette give way to a much grimier grey in the film’s second half, allowing Karemyr and in particular a fairly Medusa-like August to excel with their vulnerable and vicious turns respectively.

However, at 140 minutes there was always the danger that the damaging and scandalous nature of the material might either become repetitive or too wide-ranging to really grab for the full running time and indeed Call Girl loses momentum in the film’s second half as exposure awaits when it should be building up to a, well, climax.

That’s not to say that the period detail, accomplished performances and Tinker, Tailor feel to the whole episode don’t hold the attention, just that for a film about high class call girls and clientele, you might be tempted to ask for a little of your money back.