Film Review: “Tape” (2020) ★★★★

It is not fair that women, no matter their age, in order to get their dream job, must go through humiliation. The level of humiliation they go through is something one could only understand if they themselves experience it. No matter how harsh this may sound, but there is no film or book or screenplay that can describe what happens inside the room except one individual who should make a choice – career over dignity at the risk of losing the purity of one’s body forever.

Pearl (Isabelle Fuhrman) is an aspiring actress. She wants to succeed and make her mother proud. She knows at some point she will get a shot and so she does. Lux (Tarek Bishara), a successful producer, selects her for his new project even though she failed the initial audition. But Pearl thinks her time has arrived. The man invites her to his private studio to rehearse the part that may land her the role of her dreams. But what she does not know is that she is about to get sexually exploited and it’s being watched by Rosa (Annarosa Mudd), who records Lux’s every single step on tape.

The film is based on true events from the life of Annarosa Mudd, co-star and producer of “Tape”. The film opens with Rosa who we see is distressed. As she stands in front of the mirror, she pierces her tongue, shaves her head, and cuts her wrists. We soon learn that it’s to inspire herself to do what many would never dare to. She arms herself with hidden cameras on her body and heads towards the audition, the same one Pearl is going to. The life of two young women intersects in this psychological thriller about the ugly side of the film industry and how it uses every chance to find the perfect victim for its sinister plans.

“Tape” will make any viewer feel unsettled and worried throughout the film. However, the last half an hour is utterly uncomfortable yet important that it’s seen. That’s when you will find yourself uncomfortable as you see how a man psychologically manipulates Pearl to have intercourse with him and have everything look like it was consensual. In fact, it was as you begin listening to what he says to her and how he leaves her with no other option. Put yourself in the shoes of a talented inexperienced actor who wants to be big one day. If she leaves that studio without giving Lux what he wants, she will have to find another job. But if she stays and agrees to his offer, then she may become the new Greta Garbo. She faces a difficult dilemma. A dilemma you will wish no one ever would have to face, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in “Tape”.

Written and directed by Deborah Kampmeier, “Tape” is an absolutely must-see film that perfectly describes what it means to be a woman in the film industry. It depicts how powerful men look for opportunities to brainwash young women to have sex with them in return for a contract some cannot refuse. It’s a powerful drama that provides the true story of many women in the most realistic way that’s both chilling and horrifying. Apart from the perfect performances delivered by Annarosa Mudd, Tarek Bishara, and Isabelle Fuhrman, the film does not go far from the horror of the reality and captures a very vulnerable and naive woman with the highest expectations from herself and her future and a powerful man who thinks he controls that future in his hand and can be played with as if it was a toy. But the tool he uses is human life – someone’s daughter, sister, aunt, wife, or even a mother, which somehow most people forget.

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