“Pleasure and self destruction…The perfect poison.” – Patick Marber
Jack (Peter Vack) is an addict. Online blackjack and camgirls are his weakness. He is about to be evicted and his only source of income is also the source of his addiction. Rather than to go out into the world, Jack would rather sit at his computer and sometimes on his knees, depending on what he is ordered to do. Scarlet (Julia Fox) is his dominatrix of choice, he even goes as far as to fabricate an elaborate backstory to impress a woman he’s never met and is told lives across the country.
On the rare occasions he does leave his house and communicate with other people, he is constantly thinking about Scarlet, even rejecting a girl in real life because he’d rather be at his computer. Over time, Scarlet lets her guard down and talks to him like he’s a friend and not a client, this doesn’t do anything good for Jack’s mental state. Once he finds out what’s really going on on the other side of her camera, his generous nature is exploited to the point where he’s going to end up on the streets if he doesn’t figure out a backup plan.
If not for recent reality series, it would seem unfathomable to think someone could fall in love with another person they had never met. This young man has convinced himself that the person he pays is genuinely attracted to him. He has deluded himself to the point where he lets everything around him crumble and goes even so far he commits a felony in order to prove to her that he is someone who she should be with. What starts as pathetic attempt at intimacy turns into a dark tale of what can happen to people who lack the wherewithal to know when they’re getting scammed.
Writer/director Ben Hozie takes us to a place we can’t believe is possible. How a seemingly intelligent and attractive person can fall for the biggest grift known to man, proving love and loyalty by spending every cent they have. A depressing view into the world that is probably more common than most would be willing to admit. Vack gives a fantastic performance of a man who longs to be something more than he is and how far he will do to impress someone he thinks he knows. Never flinching at the moments of humiliation and degradation, going so far to make the audience both empathic and sorry for him at the same time.
Fantastic Film Festival Australia screens PVT CHAT on April 24 and April 30. Tickets are on sale HERE
FFFA 2021 Review – PVT CHAT
Reviewed online (screener provided by publicist), April 18, 2021. Rating: R18+. Running time: 86 min.
PRODUCTION: A Dark Star Pictures release of a Pretorius Pictures production. Producer: Oliver David.
CREW: Director/writer/cinematography/editing: Ben Hozie. Music: Austin Brown.
CAST: Peter Vack, Julia Fox, Keith Poulson, Buddy Duress, Nikki Belfiglio, Kevin Moccia, Atticus Cain, David J. White, Ally Davis.