LUCY (EMILY BROWNING) is a young Australian college student who's short on cash and open to anything. She waits tables, she takes part in scientific studies, and, when she still can't make rent, she gets involved with a lurid, scandalous underworld. Sounds juicy, right? Um, I guess.
Through an ad in a student paper, Lucy finds Clara (Rachael Blake), who hires lovely, mostly naked girls to work parties for rich old men. With time, Lucy is promoted to getting groped while naked and heavily sedated.
Yes, it's as disturbing as it sounds, but the thing is, Browning's doe eyes and sweet face never sold me on her story. Browning mumbles most of her lines, and while her limited emoting was probably intentional, it makes her hard to connect with. Lucy's interactions with her one close friend are devoid of chemistry, and her descent into high-priced companionship is weird.
Browning's portrayal of Lucy is, in some respects, brave, as is the direction by first-timer Julia Leigh—but the end result feels heavy handed, with too much art and not enough film. The movie is shot with few cuts, and aside from a couple of scenes, most of it dragged. There's so much potential for interesting dialogue in here! Why not throw more of it in?
Okay, having said all of that, let me add the following: I was curious enough about Lucy's bizarre choices that I watched intently through to the end, and there was enough nudity (young women and old men, whoa) to keep my eyes on the screen. Still, it's all rather lackluster: While it's wholly possible that my lowbrow American tastes just can't hang with Australian art, I think I'm correct when I say that this movie is just kinda boring.