WE HAD IT COMING — prostitution/revenge/suicide - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Sunday, October 10, 2021

WE HAD IT COMING — prostitution/revenge/suicide

WE HAD IT COMING — A boring look at revenge

How far will a sister go to get closure after her sister’s suicide?

That’s the central question of Paul Barbeau’s film “We Had It Coming” which follows Anna’s (Natalie Krill) journey after her sister, 

Katja (Sofie Holland) commits suicide after being forced into prostitution by a pimp in Montreal. To help her unravel the why of her sisters’ death, Anna engages the help of a lawyer (Vanessa Smythe) to connect the man to the suicide.

Moved by Anna’s broken heart, the lawyer looks into the case, pro bono, but concludes there’s no evidence linking the pimp, and drops the inquiry but Anna is determined and goes on a quest with her girlfriend Olivia (Alexia Fast) to find the man. 

The only clue that Anna has is that the pimp uses another woman as a recruiter (Erin Agostino) and they go to the strip club where the recruiter finds the women. There they discover the recruiter, and the pimp, and follow them to a cabin outside the city. Now that Anna knows where to find the man that caused her sister so much misery, that she took her own life, she must ponder her next move. 

In a statement provided in the production notes, this is what the director/screenwriter said about why, he made this film: “While some will only see this as a feminist film made by a man, the film instead reflects this collective "WE" which underlines US, as a society desiring equality between men and women. Set in a world of prostitution, procuring, and recruiting young girls, I wanted to create a powerful and provocative film that would expose different aspects of violence at a time when the Epstein affair and its recruiter Ghislaine Maxwell remind us that this subject is still pertinent today. Because of the limitations and the size of the production budget - this film was done independently for a microscopic budget - I had to proceed with codes, allegories for the viewer to quickly decode situations and also to viscerally express symbols of injustice suffered by ANNA courageously portrayed by NATALIE KRILL. Whether it’s the school principal, the lawyer's boyfriend who puts pressure on her to earn money, the verbally abusive towards his wife, the dangerous pimp, the cowboy, the men staring at strippers like zombies, the doctor at the abortion clinic, the truck driver – they are all reminders, allegorical codes of male dynamics with women which can be abusive, intrusive, and excessive towards women.”

Great concept but a boring movie. “We Had It Coming” drags so slow that I think it’s more entertaining to watch paint dry. Although the concept is sound, the execution does not meet the mark. In the production materials, Barbeau made the creative choice not to show any male faces. His goal was to express the abusive experiences through the eyes of the women. This conceptual approach is supposed to let the women own the movie. Again, an interesting idea but done poorly and it becomes exhausting to witness. All of the characters are in pain but it’s so dimensional the result is — “who cares” — and that’s not what you would want when exploring the real cycles of violence so many women experience, around the world, by men. 

Nothing is interesting about these characters and you feel nothing for them. In screenwriting 101, the most important part of Act One is to emotionally connect with your character, and here, the film does not do that.  

Barbeau has good intentions. He wanted to tell a story without those slick, fast, and easy answers. But, again, these are good intentions that do not land. 

Women must be more than just an endless parade of suffering and that’s what he’s done here, and it feels exploitative. 

Barbeau’s screenplay lacks the depth of story and nuisance of character to elevate it anywhere interesting.  

Barbeau’s film is wonderfully shot and the cast is solid, as it relates to their God-given skill but there is so much missing here, beginning with an emotional hook. We don’t care and that’s what abused women around the world experience every single day. 

Review Target Date: 10/14/2021

Duration: 86 (minutes)


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