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Call Girl
Year:
2012
Country:
Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland
Genre:
Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
6.5
Director:
Mikael Marcimain
Pernilla August as Dagmar Glans
Jade Viljamaa as Minna
Maria Alm Norell as Iris mamma Gunnel
Lena B. Eriksson as Socialsekreterare Britt
Sverrir Gudnason as Krister
David Dencik as Aspen
Sven Nordin as Glenn
Storyline: Call Girl is set in the late 1970s - a time time of women's liberation, sexual revolution, Swedish neutrality, nuclear power and social security. The film takes us on a trip from the very bottom of society, along dark back streets, through glitz and glamour, to the corridors of power which are a labyrinth of secrets. The story is inspired by a Swedish political scandal known as Bordellhärvan which linked underage prostitution with powerful customers believed to come from the highest levels of society.
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Reviews
since the beginning I knew the end
Very realistic 70's style Swedish movie. It has a clear message, don't mess with mafia. I liked it so much as I was watching the film with the family so their argument was Dagmar and the rest of the mobster hierarchy will be judged by the court and incarcerated in the jail and I said hell no, they won't as there are so many guidelines they won't since the beginning. The film is not about pimps, it's about very influential madam and the politicians even ministers who use her services. It's so clear when you immerse deep into the synopsis of the movie. A little thing on the beginning is they start to decriminalize sex activities, it's mentioned those who did offenses of having a sex with a minor will serve only up to two (2) years in prison so they push water at it's mill. Also John is badly beaten hence before he noticed, secret service which is above him trims the sound tapes so he can't get a clear proof against the criminals. When Dagmar was brought to investigation she acts proudly and fearlessly. She talks with John like he is her client not like a police agent he used to be. John's college is involved as he notices it when he verbally attacked Iris so he hit him in the face. Later on in the vehicle college said you're at your own which is a clear evidence no one will beat Dahmar and the rest of the crew. The part which is so clear, Iris is in the hotel but her client isn't shown, on the next scene is the president of the social democratic party so we know it's him. Notice in the beginning of the film it's mentioned there are seven (7) more days until the election day and we hear his speech where you can apprehend he and his party are influential. The last part when you know Dagmar is a clear winner is when the John is killed and from the beginning they said few times secret service knows everything.

From a view of the technicalities movie is a little of bit longer, it could've been shorten 30 minutes and all the synopsis would fit. The part where girls are scared out of parent's reaction is very unlikely to happened in real as they are in the orphanage so they rarely see their parents and parents have no authority.

The main reason for the excellent grade is the movie ending as it was expected. Since the beginning they gave us evidences and we had to think what will happened so it's one of the movies when you think while watching, you know the end.
2017-01-10
Beautiful and provocative
'Call Girl' premiered in the UK yesterday at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and earnt its inclusion with a clever narrative, great casting and an outstanding performance from Pernilla August.

August's portrayal of Dagmar Glans, or the real-life Doris Hope, was remarkably accomplished. Her interactions with the girls, police and politicians of 70's Sweden were entirely convincing. She is at once powerful and repulsive and cannot be ignored.

The film provides social and political context through multiple narratives that allow the audience to glimpse the story from the point of view of the girls, their guardians, Glans, the secret service and the politicians in equal measure.

The clever casting of a wide array of politicians allows the film to show both an intimate and distant side to their world. They are effectively juxtaposed with the girls that they use and, through this, come across to the audience as powerful, feared but flawed characters.

The soundtrack and wardrobe are also worthy of a positive mention.

For me 'Call Girl' is less enjoyable due to some exaggerated acting and plot jumps.

The representation of Simon J Berger's policeman 'hero' is exaggerated. His actions are enough for the audience to understand his noble intentions and his abrasive style. There is no need for the added swagger, the punch and the rock-star dress-sense that is bolted-on to this character.

The change which comes about in the friendship between Iris and Sonja is acted out unconvincingly by Sofia Karemyr and Josefin Asplund.

Also, the sequence at the beginning of the film which shows the press officer in Sandberg's office might confuse viewers. Instead the action could cut directly from the introductory TV interview to Iris and her mother.

This film taught and engaged me and I would highly recommend it. If you enjoyed this movie you may also like 'Shame' (2011).
2013-06-24
Swedes will appreciate this film more than will non-Swedes
As the British Board of Film Classification rating appeared on the screen, I heard one of the other people in the audience exclaim "Contains strong sex?!" Well what did she expect of a film called 'Call Girl'? It's based upon real-life events in Sweden during the 1970s. Two juvenile delinquent teenage girls nightly escape from their free-and-easy reform school to sample the fast-paced life of, erm, Stockholm. Eventually they are drawn in the world of pimp Dagmar Glans, who soon has them servicing her client list of top-flight judges and politicians (she's a sort of 1970s' Swedish version of Cynthia Payne, although Payne, as far as I'm aware, was never suspected of pimping under-age girls). Meanwhile a young(ish) police officer charged with investigating Glans finds his efforts stymied by shadowy figures, in an entirely predictable fashion.

This film caused a stir in Sweden for suggesting that Olof Palme, a Prime Minister assassinated in 1986, was one of Glans' clients. But for anyone not versed in Swedish politics that main sensational point is wasted. Instead the viewer watches a rather rambling production which, while diverting enough, feels a bit flabby (like many of Glans' clients, ho ho ho). And those who like their plot lines tied off neatly will be frustrated, as by the end of the film a number of questions still haven't been answered: precisely why were the secret services so keen to interfere in the police investigation? Why did that nasty thing happen to the police officer? What happened to the girl on the bus? But there's an enjoyable central performance from Pernilla August as the tough-as-nails old boot Glans, and it's nice to see some real-life Scandi-crime rather than the often substandard fictional stuff that's spreading across television at the moment. However, I have to question whether a film about the sexual exploitation of young girls needed to feature quite so many topless shots of them...
2013-10-11
If you're not Swedish, this film is nothing special
'Call Girl', a film about a sex scandal in Sweden in the 1970's, is labeled as a classic political paranoia thriller. It has indeed some elements of this film genre. There is the righteous police investigator who has to fight against corrupt powers. There are also mysterious exchanges in dark and rainy streets between men in raincoats. There is an undercover photographer who captures suspect encounters from a parked car.

But that is only one part of the story. 'Call Girl' is as much a coming-of-age film as a political thriller. The first half of the film focuses almost entirely on 14-year old Iris, an adventurous girl who ventures into Stockholm's night life and slowly gets involved in a prostitution network servicing high-powered politicians.

The movie is clearly meant as a critique of Sweden's ultra-liberal culture in the seventies. The politicians publicly defend equal rights for women and men, but at the same time use underage girls as disposable sex toys. On the other hand, Iris and her cousin Sonja seem to enjoy the excitement, the glamour and the proceeds of their secret life as call girls. They are not shown as helpless victims but as naive girls who only discover that they have made a mistake when it is too late.

'Call girl' is very good in capturing the mood of the seventies. A great job has been done by Dutch cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, who created the same atmosphere for 'Tinker, Taylor, Soldier Spy'. But the film fails in creating the right amount of suspense. In the first half, the emphasis is too much on Iris's introduction into the call girl network. This part is too slow and too long. We see the same things over and over again: the girls visiting clients in posh hotels, the girls being 'brainwashed' by the network leader, the girls snoring cocaine, the girls parading around in see-through blouses, etcetera. The thriller element is more prominent in the second half of the movie, but even then the film never surprises in a positive way.

The most spoken-about aspect of the film is the Olof Palme link. The son of former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme has started a lawsuit because he thinks the film suggests that Palme had sex with underage girls. In fact, the name Palme is never mentioned. But apparently, in Sweden there has been a police report about Palme's involvement in the network, which has subsequently been covered up until the 1990's. Because of this historical link, the film is probably a big deal for the Swedes. But for the rest of the world, it is nothing special.
2013-05-26
"Cinematic, atmospheric and noteworthy..."
Swedish television and film director Mikael Marcimain's feature film debut which was written by Swedish screenwriter Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten, is inspired by real events which took place in Sweden during the late 1970s. It premiered in the Discovery section at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival in 2012, was screened In competition at the 23rd Stockholm International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on locations in Sweden and is a Sweden-Norway-Ireland-Finland co-production which was produced by Swedish producer Mimmi Spång. It tells the story about a 14-year-old girl named Iris Dahl who after a meeting with a woman from the Social Welfare Board where she is accompanied by her mother regarding her no longer being wanted at her school, is sent to live at a juvenile home called Alsunda where she is introduced to a caring social worker named Mona and reunited with a former friend named Sonja. A police officer named John Sandberg who lives with his wife and their daughter named Greta in Stockholm, Sweden. A press officer at the Swedish Parliament named Aspen and a middle-aged mother named Dagmar Glans who assists men by functioning as a service provider who connects them with women and girls and ultimately profits from it.

Distinctly and acutely directed by Nordic filmmaker Mikael Marcimain, this finely paced and somewhat fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the main character's point of view, draws a nuanced and heartrending portrayal of a minor who after being invited to an arranged party by some of the girls at Alsunda and becoming known to a person who regards herself as the mother of all women whom she recognizes herself in, is manipulated and exploited by an adult who throws her right into the hands of the wolves and pays her to keep her lips sealed. While notable for it's distinct, various and naturalistic milieu depictions, sterling cinematography by Swiss cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, production design by production designer Lina Nordqvist, fine costume design by Swedish costume designer Cilla Rörby and use of sound, this character-driven and narrative-driven story about sexual crimes against children, equality for women on the labour market and scandalous revelations concerning renowned Swedish politicians and other citizens on the higher steps of the hierarchical ladder which reached public awareness almost four decades ago and how the pillars of the nation addressed their people in that situation, depicts a dense and humane study of character and contains a great score by Swedish composer Mattias Bärjed.

This historic, at times humorous, modestly romantic and sociological coming-of-age period drama which is set in Stockholm, Sweden mostly before the upcoming general election in 1975-1976 and where an adolescent girl is lured into an adult world of sex, drugs and money, a brothel madam unscrupulously guides a defenseless girl into the loss of her innocence, a policeman is assigned on a one man's job to tail the manager of a prostitution business and a senior adviser is trying to cover up for government officials, is impelled and reinforced by it's cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, efficient continuity, editing and instrumental tones, multiple studies of character, interrelated stories, the filmmakers' choice of emphasizing Iris' viewpoint, the authentic depiction of its illicit central milieu, the involving and commendable acting performance by Swedish actress Sofia Karemyr in her debut feature film role, the versatile acting performance by Swedish screenwriter, actress and director Pernilla August and the fine acting performance by Swedish actor Simon J. Berger. A cinematic, atmospheric and noteworthy political thriller which gained, among numerous other awards, the FIPRESCI Prize - Discovery at the 37th Toronto Film Festival in 2012.
2013-07-12
Good fim about who wealthy people use poor girls with problem.
A movie to check on how our former government (Social now) took advantage of the previous Liberal system ..

And if the terrible female brothel owners (Dagmar Gloss) who took advantage of young girls into prostitution against their will.

The girls was girls with problem and the government take care of and after that being used by the Hight politician and outhers really really wealthy people who don't care about outer people..

Interesting story about Sweden's gruesome history and how rich people exploit vulnerable women in the past so liberal society where money is more important than the people ..

Luckily both Sweden and the United States throw out the Liberal government ..
2016-12-08
Tedious, confusing, annoying
I'm not sure I'm qualified to review this movie because I walked out after an hour, something I rarely do. (Usually if I'm not enjoying a film, I fall asleep.)

The current IMDb rating is too high.

Something went wrong with the exposition in this movie. After a while I was able to discern that the story involves a troubled and promiscuous teenager abandoned by her mother at a relaxed juvenile residence. For reasons that were unexplained in the movie, the young residents were allowed to do what they wanted, and come and go as they pleased. Of course, they all went to Stockholm, and got into trouble. (Is this realistic? What kind of state-run facility was this exactly?)

At some point she blithely and stupidly got caught up in a sex network of some kind involving an older guy and then a group of older people. (Who were the men with Glans?) They got these girls drunk and had sex with them. This is pedophile rape, and a rather powerful scene, but the movie doesn't really dwell on it. The event doesn't seem to bother the girl at all.

You have to give the moviegoer some reason to care about what happens. A movie should have a hero, or antihero, of some kind. I thought she was it, but I developed little sympathy for her, even though we were shown some of her back story. I understand that girls just want to have fun, and need some cash now and again, but what is in it for the moviegoer? There seemed to be no insights, no entertainment value.

The rest of the plot was difficult to follow (at least for the first hour). For the life of me, I couldn't quite put the pieces together. It didn't help that the filmmaker lingered a little too long on details and activities that seemed corollary and unnecessary.

From what I could gather, there was a woman (lesbian?) running an unsophisticated prostitution ring involving several different people, a few Swedish politicians (who?), including some enacting a bill to decriminalize incest (?), Polish diplomats who have sex in their offices (?), security officials, an investigator and so on. The investigator is tasked with investigating the prostitution ring; he does it by creeping up the stairs and listening through the door.

The seduction and sex scenes were squalid.

Almost everyone seemed to be constantly smoking. Endless shots of people sitting around, languidly smoking. For me, smoking is usually somewhat disgusting to watch; here we see gratuitous tobacco abuse in every scene. Were the Swedes such heavy smokers back then?

Much of the action takes place at night, or in the rain, or indoors in rather decrepit, cheap-looking buildings. There was nothing here for the eye.

I suppose this might be a movie about the horrors of ultra-liberalism in Sweden in the 1970s and moral corruption in Swedish politics at the time. If so, it wasn't (for at least the first hour of this movie) really entertaining or easy to follow.

The question that arose for me was this: why should I care what happens to these people?? After two people walked out, I realised I didn't care, so I walked out as well.
2013-04-13
Reading out loud
A lifeless screenplay makes this ambitious film-project to wreck completely. A true story with all the right ingredients. Olof Palme, the minister of justice Lennart Geijer, Jane Fonda, sex with minors... A major political scandal, swept under the thick Swedish democratic rug. Storytelling turned into a tepid recitation of facts and participants. Very close to the updated version of the book "Bordellhärvan" by Deanne Rauscher, Gösta Elmquist, and Janne Mattsson (Pocketförlaget 2012). As some of you already pointed out, a remarkable tour de force of the "Call Girl" art department. Regarding the locations, most of them are negligent/ignorant choices. A 1976 costume in a Stockholm 2011. The film is stuffed with good distinctive Scandinavian actors. Most of them lost in a sprawling storyline. However, Pernilla August is truly magnificent. A lifeboat in an ocean full of good purposes.
2013-08-02
Good, but overlong with a too slow first half
CALL GIRL is one of those slow and sombre Scandinavian productions that's all about the slow burn. It tells the true story of a scandalous call girl ring running in Sweden in the 1970s in which underage girls were procured for leading politicians of the era. Names have been changed but the viewer nonetheless comes away with some idea of the corruption inherent during the era, and of course we all know that most countries have their own skeletons in the closet from that decade.

As a film, CALL GIRL doesn't really excite or involve the viewer too much, although it's certainly very well made and beautifully directed in places. The subject matter is racy but somehow never sleazy; there's a classy slickness to the production that veers on the right side of taste. Saying that, there's still a heck of a lot of nudity from the young women involved, so it's not going to be for all tastes. The acting is of a generally realistic standard, too. My main issue is with the overlong running time; at least half the has elapsed before the story begins for real with the police investigation and some efficient pruning could have turned this into something really remarkable.
2016-08-25
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