Ella Scott Lynch, Benedict Samuel, Robin Goldsworthy
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…a stylishly subversive treat…a bon-bon spiked with ground glass…
Can a film work when all of its characters are wholly unlikeable? It’s a dilemma that co-writer/director, David Barker, bravely toys with in his feature debut, Pimped. With a very small cast of characters made up of the unpleasant, the misogynistic, the snobbish, the cruel, and the unhinged, Barker truly backs himself up against the wall. Thankfully, he carries a few vital cinematic weapons: his themes are creepily prescient; his dialogue (co-penned with Lou Mentor) has a pruriently compelling quality; the locations are alluringly shot by talented DOP, Josh Flavell; the music is dynamic and original; and the cast is across-the-board excellent. The a-hole quotient undeniably strains the friendship, but Pimped remains a stylishly subversive treat…a bon-bon spiked with ground glass.
Lewis (a mind bogglingly smarmy Benedict Samuel) and Kenneth (Robin Goldsworthy nails the creepy-rich-best-friend trope with smashing bravado) are housemates with a taste for the debauched and amoral. When they target the loopy Sarah (a fragile but steely Ella Scott Lynch) – who is trailed by her alter ego, Rachel (also played by Lynch, but in an ugly black wig), with whom she actively and verbally debates the rights and wrongs of life – for an unpleasant sexual tryst, they get much, much more than they bargained for, and the bodily fluids really start to flow.
Mirroring low budget minor classics like Bound and Diabolique, the winningly titled Pimped has a real strut about it. Barker obviously knows that he can write and shoot, and he easily rises above his minimal budget. It’s a modest film with limited locations and a very small cast, but there’s an undeniable air of rumpled class about the film. The talented and charismatic Benedict Samuel (The Walking Dead, Gotham, Secret City) and Ella Scott Lynch (Love Child, The Code) are obviously major names-on-the-rise, and they add immeasurably to the sense of punchiness. It’s dark and nasty, but Pimped will continue to bang around inside your head long after the last evil deed has been done.