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  PVT CHAT Net Worth
Year: 2020
Director: Ben Hozie
Stars: Peter Vack, Julia Fox, Nikki Belfiglio, Austin Brown, Atticus Cain, Oliver David, Ally Davis, Buddy Duress, Charlie Gillette, Kenishia Green, Laura Hajek, Ben Hozie, Janelle Krone, Kevin Moccia, Dasha Nekrasova, Keith Poulson, Andrew Ryder, David J. White
Genre: Drama, Sex, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jack (Peter Vack) loves to masturbate, in fact it's probably his favourite thing apart from winning money gambling on internet blackjack, which is how he supports himself. He lives in a New York apartment and rarely goes out, why bother when he can get all his self-pleasuring needs satisfied indoors? Though his landlord is not so keen and wants him out of there so he can move a higher-paying family in instead. But Jack is not hugely bothered as his masturbation is his main motivation in life, and what he uses to get off are cam girls, that is, young women who pose as fantasy figures for men who do not want to be in a relationship with them, or rather, cannot be in a relationship with anybody, which brings us back to Jack.

The cam girl phenomenon is part and parcel of internet pornography and became even more popular once the 2020 lockdown afflicted many parts of the world since sex workers did not need to actually have sex with their clients to get paid. While plenty of these women (and men) were far from well off and only performing to make cash for themselves - or their pimps, more pertinently - they were providing a service that went beyond the sexual and into the interpersonal, for those clients were often very lonely, with nobody to talk to in their real lives, or at least nobody they felt they could via the safety of an internet connection where they could open up about their lives. Thus in a strange way, twenty-first century technology brought folks together.

This could be the premise for a horror movie or thriller, but you would have to admit that a romance based on the cam girls would be something of a stretch. Hence the credulity of the audience was tested to snapping point by PVT CHAT, which was mysteriously under the impression that behind the aching void in modern relationships, or lack of them, was fruitful ground for a charming love story where the client would be brought together with the prostitute of his dreams, in this case dominatrix Scarlet (Julia Fox from Uncut Gems – she was Adam Sandler's mistress). As far as the sub/dom aspect went, all she ventured to do was pretend to stub cigarettes out on Jack's tongue, as if writer and director Ben Hozie was reluctant to go too deep into what might from some angles look like an abusive affair, except the participants never so much as touched.

But that could go the other way as well, and Jack could give in to his desires and abuse Scarlet right back. We were apparently intended to regard this as affecting, but for a start Jack is a highly resistible fantasist who fixates on the woman on the screen in a manner that Hozie did not appear to realise was very, very creepy. The whole movie, shot on handheld video like a found footage effort, kept looking as if it was about to turn into a horror like The Driller Killer, but instead decided to fulfil Jack's fantasies when he thinks he recognises Scarlet on the street and essentially starts to stalk her. She closes down the webcam, he loses big on his gambling so can't afford her either, so begins to track her down in real life, which does not lead to him wearing her head as a hat, but a more benevolent result he barely deserves. Scarlet remains that fantasy girl from start to finish, and while you could applaud the film for indulging in equal opportunity nudity and sex, there was an uneasy atmosphere throughout. The punk era would have known what to do with these misfits, but PVT CHAT presented them as objects of aspiration, which might have been the most depressing thing about it. Music by Austin Brown.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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