Irina Palm (2007)
2008-04-03 17:54:45 ET

Never have I been more disappointed that a theater concession stand didn’t carry Mars bars . . .

"Irina Palm" is the story of late middle-aged woman (Marianne Faithfull) whose grandson (Corey Burke) is dying of an unspecified illness. There’s a radical new treatment being offered in Melbourne that looks hopeful, but the family is too far in debt to afford it. In desperation she takes a "hostess" job at the strip club (she’s not a whore per se, she just gets paid for burpin’ the worm). She is very good at her job andbegins to form a quasi-romantic friendship with the Super Mario Bros.-addicted owner (Miki Manojlovic), but her mysterious and well-paying new job get family and friends anxious. Also appearing is my late 70’s crush Jenny Agutter as the bitchy neighbor.

Overall, the performances were quite good. Once you get past giggling over Marianne Faithfull playing squeamish over this kind of thing, you see that she’s an excellent actress. She very poigniantly plays a woman who is doing what she has to do to save someone she loves. She convincingly goes from lost to confident, and manages to find some humor along the way. Her boss comes off as surprisingly sympathetic as well. My only real complaint is with her son (Kevin Bishop), the boy’s father. He’s such a sanctimonious ass that I couldn’t really feel anything but disdain for him. I think the actor did a great job, the writing of the character was a bit shallow.

While the main theme of this movie, obviously, is how much one would be willing to sacrifice to save a loved one, there’s an interesting subplot concerning the price of success. As she gets better at her job and starts gaining attention, it gets her in trouble with coworkers and in difficult situations with her boss. Honestly, I thought these were some of the most interesting scenes in the film.

Despite its ABC-Afterschool-Special-meets-Skinemax premise, this movie is a surprisingly deep and moving look at difficult situations. It’s not one I would recommend to everybody, but if you’ve read this far, I’d probably tell you to go and see it.

2008-04-03 18:57:00 ET

mmmmmmmmmm MARS bars....

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