Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Irina Palm

Irina Palm
Marianne Faithfull, Miki Manojlovic and Kevin Bishop

Rated: R for strong sexual content, nudity and language
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: March 21, 2008 Released by: Strand Releasing

This lethargic, thought-provoking drama is worthy seeing for music icon turned actress Marianne Faithfull.

The woman who once rocked with Mick Jagger (like his muse) earns the titular name in Sam Garbarski's Irina Palm, a tale of sacrifice and rebirth.

Contemporary London is the setting of an early middle-aged English widow Maggie looking to raise the funds to pay for treatment of her grandson's terminal condition in Australia. The parents aren't able to provide the means, so, with no help from local employment recruitment or efforts into credit-card assistance, she becomes popular and well-skilled as a hostess at a local sex-club. Those clients being "serviced" can't watch who is performing it, so it takes awhile before she has to deal with the ramifications of her new job.

There are some mildly diverting moments considering how desperate she is to get into this new endeavor that doesn't diminish how thick-skinned she is and how she reacts to the world around her. It may be hard to believe for some, especially women, how she gains more self-fulfillment from this predicament. But, the dramatic elements somehow take hold, through Faithfull's dedication to the role and decent support from Miki Manojlovic as her new wily, if soft-hearted boss.

Irina Palm isn't as involving or poignant like Vera Drake which dealt with a more troubling issue in Britain nearly half a century ago. Yet, there is definite pathos and grit that harkens back to some notable British dramas nearly a generation back. And, Faithfull brings out much in Kevin Bishop as her increasingly aggressive son in a role that fades less from memory than many of scenes which turn to black.

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