Call Girl (3 stars)

Call Girl

Gripping Swedish thriller explores the ties between the political elite and a prostituion ring

Swedish director Mikael Marcimain’s début is a consuming thriller set amidst his country’s late 1970s general election, implicating policemen and politicians with under-aged prostitution. Marcimain’s involvement as second unit director on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is apparent in the secretive meetings between members of the investigation. However, Call Girl chooses to focus primarily on the disturbing path followed by Iris (Sofia Karemyr) and her friend Sonja (Josefin Asplund) taking them into the arms of the notorious madam Dagmar (a powerful performance from Pernilla August) whose prostitution ring was used by Sweden’s political elite.

The film reconstructs the 1970s in every little detail, from the platform shoes to bell-bottom flares, and its disco tunes to hippie hits. One feels completely immersed in the utopian model society that was Sweden, creating a sense of nostalgia even for those who weren’t there. Amidst all the corruption and lust, John Sandberg (Simon J Berger) is the only beacon of justice. We follow his investigation in the last third of this hefty thriller and no matter how hard he tries, we just know his efforts will be squashed by the elite. Based on true events, Call Girl underlines the hypocrisy of a society which boasted of promoting women’s liberation whilst abusing its weakest members.

GFT, Glasgow from Fri 16 Aug.

Call Girl Trailer

Call Girl

  • 3 stars
  • 2012
  • Sweden / Norway / Finland / Ireland
  • 2h 20min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Mikael Marcimain
  • Written by: Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten
  • Cast: Ruth Vega Fernandez, Pernilla August, David Dencik
  • UK release: 16 August 2013

The true story of how a prostitution scandal threatened to bring down Sweden's Social Democratic government in the 1970s. A timely story of a political class convinced of its own power and self-interest.