Posted in: Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on June 8th, 2009
The main plot of the film is that of a young woman from Brazil named Priscilla, whose student Visa expires and is lead into working as an exotic dancer. The title of the film comes from the ad posted by the pimps and promoters of exotic dancers “Waitresses Wanted.” The film is bookended by the profiles of all the dancers featured in the film, all of whom are from a different nation, all beautiful, and all arrived in Canada with different careers in mind than to get involved with Columbian pimps or Russian mob lords.
Priscilla is taken under the wing of Milagro, a fellow stripper who is known for recruiting new girls and the two start up a romance that leads them away from their shady work. I don’t exactly buy the immediate seduction of Priscilla by Milagro. It seems to occur simply because the writer wants it to occur. Priscilla is not as strong as she claims to be and cannot get into or out of the stripper life without someone leading her, and she is very easily lead. There is a recurrence of memories and images of Brazil, obviously meant to be Priscilla’s. These find a way of attaching themselves to Milagro as she continuously brings up her desire to escape to Brazil, which may explain her attachment and excitement for Priscilla. To Milagro, Priscilla is a part of what she really wants in the end, and as the twists start arriving at the climax of the film, we find out just how significant all of these ties really are.
The as hinted at already, the story becomes detached from Priscilla at one point, and follows Milagro, who admittedly is a far more interesting character. Priscilla seems mostly adrift amongst the many intense situations that occur around her, never instigating anything and always having to witness more than act.
Montreal is filmed as a place of optimistic illusion. Everywhere, even at night time, has a certain shine or brightness, yet always cold. The latter not just because the story takes place during a Canadian winter, and is juxtaposed against images of overwhelmingly bright Brazil, but just in the overall presentation of the people, places and buildings.
Presented in 1.85:1 Widescreen. The quality, I suppose, is decent enough. I don’t expect the Lucasarts rendering on an independently made French-Canadian film (though the French in Canada do treat their films better than most I find) and I get what I expect. Decent picture without that hollywoodised, crystal clarity.
A nicely balanced Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. The music in the strip club sounds great through all speakers and the songs by Martha Wainwright that are peppering throughout sound very clear, though perhaps not as soulful or relevant to the plot as the filmmakers may have thought…but that’s a little besides the point. There is more dialogue than ambient sound but the quality does not get lazy. Every sound is well looked after.
The dialogue is in several languages, mainly French. Subtitles are offered in English and French.
A trailer for the film. That’s all.
Overall, this is a decently performed drama that doesn’t really come together until the very end. I cannot spoil what happens, but can assure that any uncomfortable suspicions of something big arriving at the end are true. One can probably guess what will happen and writer/director Guylaine Dionne hopes to expel enough heavy emotions onto the screen to keep you interested until then. An interesting piece that can be worthwhile if you’re not in a rush nor require a rocketing pace.