Tape

The Assistant was a disaster of a #MeToo movie, but Tape is effective enough to get maligned by critics. Maybe it hits a nerve that Tape plays exactly like the acclaimed ’90s indies that introduced a new generation of starlets to #MeToo moments. (The title sequence perfectly captures that spirit, right down to Leslie Graves’ vocals filling a role once reserved for Lori Carson.) The story is fairly straightforward, as Rosa (Annarosa Mudd) attempts to save fellow aspiring actress Pearl (Isabelle Fuhrman) from being exploited by evil talent broker Lux (Tarek Bishara). Writer/director Deborah Kampmeier doesn’t hold back in letting the creep seduce his hopeful prey with lines like, “It’s amazing watching you claim your power.” Tape throws in Hollywood as a co-conspirator, too. “Look at all those HBO shows,” Lux says while trying to convince Pearl to have sex on film, before pulling up Halle Berry’s sex scene from Monster’s Ball: “She won an Oscar for this…there’s no way that’s not real.” The script would play more like a cringe-comedy if it wasn’t for Rosa desperately trying to derail the sleaziness while perversely catching it all on hidden video. Of course, that’s all before Tape lurches into an ending that doesn’t make sense. That’s okay, though. The movie is really just assuming that the audience doesn’t know much about a certain topic. That weird reveal simply confirms that Tape is a feminist fever dream that – in true giallo fashion – addresses the impossible task of setting things right.

[NR]