Modern Love Is Automatic (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/10/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Superbly written, brilliantly directed and featuring a sensational performance from newcomer Melodie Sisk, this is a gem of a film that plays like a low-budget version of Belle de Jour with a dash of Russ Meyer.

What's it all about?
Directed by Zach Clark, Modern Love Is Automatic stars Melodie Sisk as Lorraine, a terminally apathetic nurse who even reacts to walking in on her cheating boyfriend (Matthew Hartman) with a disinterested stare. Dumping the boyfriend, she continues to ignore co-workers and potentially interested new doctors alike, until an opportunity for some S&M sex work suggests itself and she begins a potentially liberating sideline as a dominatrix.

Meanwhile, Lorraine's super-perky new roommate Adrian (Maggie Ross), fresh from graduating top of her modelling class, struggles to deal with the seedy realities of her chosen profession and also fails to notice that her boyfriend Mitch (Carlos Bustamante) is becoming increasingly obsessed with Lorraine.

The Good
Sisk is simply sensational, despite having minimal dialogue and presenting the same blank-faced stare throughout the majority of the film. This means that when she finally takes even the slightest step towards a normal human reaction (such as silently gripping the hands of a distraught blonde colleague), it's surprisingly moving.

Maggie Ross is extremely good as the constantly chattering, hyperactive Adrian, who essentially does all the talking for both characters. There's also strong support from Bustamante as the obnoxious Mitch (the fact that this sub-plot doesn't go where you expect is one of the film's many pleasures).

The Great
The film is also shot through with jet-black humour (Adrian's job as a mattress saleswoman is as funny as it is depressing) and Clark uses a neat device of using want ads as occasional onscreen captions. There are several wonderful scenes, but the highlight is a beautifully directed and superbly acted karaoke scene that's both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.

Worth seeing?
Modern Love Is Automatic is something of a cult movie in the making – it's a strikingly original and brilliantly directed film that gets under your skin in all sorts of unusual ways. It also marks both Zach Clark and Melodie Sisk out as talents to watch. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 23/10/2017 23:23

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