Its a slow but devastating story about the early west
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I just watched this film. It was unrelenting, a story of the rough circumstances prostitutes endured in the West a little more than a century ago. Its a woman's story, almost totally without a male point of view. The men are represented as beings who mostly just mumble and play cards. Their voices are heard often muttering on the soundtrack. We can't make out what they're actually saying. Representing the guys as stick figures helps emphasize in what reduced and lonely circumstances the prostitutes inhabit their dance hall and saloon world. There are no women who are not prostitutes in this early western town. Just as the men have little regard for the women, the women think little of the men. I think this may be a fairly truthful accounting of the West before it was civilized. The film has got me thinking about how desperate male-female relationships may have been in America not all that long ago."
Jon Sanders' The Wicked Wicked West
Charles Tatum | 05/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is hard to sum up because there is really not a plot, per se. The film follows the lives of prostitutes living in a brothel owned by Brenda Fricker. This is not the brothel of TV westerns, this is a dark, dank place barely lit by candle light in a dingy little ten building frontier town. McGillis plays Nettie, who helps the other prostitutes through their time at Fricker's establishment, as well as the competition down the street. It is implied she performs abortions for unexpected pregnancies. She tries to raise her five year old son in the house, with less than successful results. Eileen is Irish, and befriends German dancer Katya, who replaces Eileen's best friend, who we see murdered in the opening scene. Georgie is the new young prostitute who knows she can do better that this one horse town, and sets out to prove it. Ada is the prostitute with children who is getting older and less desirable to the men.The entire cast does a fantastic job. Sanders' direction (he also cowrote this) is very intimate wihout being exploitative, except for McGillis' topless scene. The film is sad, without being a complete downer, but you get the idea that this is what the prostitutes went through. The pace seems deliberately slow so we get to know the characters. The pace is a little too slow at times, and a few supporting actors blur in confusion here and there, but Sanders keeps things going.Despite the stupid title, and cleavage baring video box, this is not something along the lines of "Bad Girls" or "Hard Bounty." This tells a very realistic story of tough lives gone wrong. If anything, it is hard to forget.This is rated (R) for some physical violence, gun violence, some gore, female nudity, strong sexual content, and strong sexual references."