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Review of new Vivamax scorching sex-drama, ‘The Escort Wife’

September 15, 2022 Mario Bautista 3212 views

Escort1VIVA Entertainment releases two new films about prostitution this week. Now showing in actual theatres is “Expensive Candy”, which we’ve already reviewed. Streaming on Vivamax this Friday is “The Escort Wife” that reminds us of the acclaimed “Belle de Jour”, one of the few Luis Bunuel films released in local theaters.

We remember seeing it at the Cinerama in the late 60s. It’s the story of a doctor’s wife (the impossibly beautiful Catherine Deneuve) who sidelines clandestinely as a whore in a brothel. In “The Escort Wife”, Janelle Tee as Patricia is also the wife of doctor, Roy (Raymond Bagatsing), who also turns to prostitution, but that’s where their similarity ends.

Deneuve as Severine has a passion only for herself and her wild fantasies and fetishes and the film is an Bunuel’s own treatise on marriage and sexuality. In contrast, Patricia is a neglected wife who has been taken for granted by Roy after she had a miscarriage and lost their baby.

This is only mentioned in passing and we never really know the full details, though there’s a hint that Patricia suffered psychologically which is why Roy won’t allow her to work again. She is now infernally bored inside their lavish home, until she spies on a neighbor, Chrissy (Ava Mendez), and with the help of binoculars, sees her passionately making love with different men.

She and Chrissy later on become friends and she is shocked when she sees that her husband, who no longer makes love to her, is one of Chrissy’s clients. With revenge on her mind, she is tutored by Chrissy on how to be an escort girl and when Chrissy retires, she assumes her job and all her clients, including Roy who doesn’t recognize her as they are wearing masks during their tryst in bed.

You know there’s no way this movie will end peacefully. Like most other Vivamax sextravaganzas, it eventually forays into bloody violence. “Belle de Jour” has no explicit sex scenes. It just intrigues and titillates.

A most talked-about scene is one where a client opens a box and shows it to the girls. We never see what’s inside the box. The other girls refused to do whatever it is the client had in mind, but it’s suggested that Severine must have agreed and something happened.

In “The Escort Wife”, the sex scenes are very graphic. Both Janelle and Ava have nude bedscenes with Raymond Bagatsing (who’s obviously much older than them) and several younger but insipid-looking men.

We don’t know if it’s just us, but after watching so many soft porn films on Vivamax, these explicit scenes complete with pumping motion seem to have lost their erotic appeal. Looks like we’ve become so jaded that we’re no longer aroused or affected in any way.

So we just look more closely at the other elements of the film. Production values are fairly classy, but the storytelling by DIrector Paul Basinillo moves quite slowly and there are plot elements that seem quite contrived. As a whole, the film says that deliberately defying the dictates of society can be exhilarating but it can also be deadly as you have to pay the consequences, like what Katya Santos in a cameo role does to Janelle in the movie.

There’s no denying that the acting of the two lead women is way above average. We can believe the angst and agony that Janelle as the ignored wife experiences, which is aggravated by her husband’s being clueless about what she is going through. So we cheer for her when she finally confronts him about it and gives him the comeuppance he somehow deserves.

Ava is very photogenic on screen and, like what we’ve written about her before, she is an instinctive actress who does what her role and her scenes ask without much effort. She’s been playing mostly supporting roles so we wish Vivamax would give her a more demanding lead role that will really bring out the best in her.

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