I too caught this film at Fantasia Fest in Montreal. I went in
expecting the typical low-budget Canadian dreck like "Deaden", and was
very surprised with just how good it was. While in some ways it's a
typical revenge film, the story unfolds in a way that keeps you engaged
as a viewer. The pacing of it is spot on, delivering the obligatory
kick-ass scene, some nice t&a, an occasional laugh, and the intriguing
storyline all when needed.
The film takes place within the world of the underground sex trade in Toronto. It's not very often that we see this side of Canada on film, and I think the filmmakers did a great job in creating a setting that feels completely realistic. It doesn't try too hard or go over the top in its portrayal of this world as so many Canadian films are apt to do. The cinematography adds perfectly to this gritty, seedy environment by keeping everything minimally lit and hand- held.
What really surprised me the most though, were the performances of all the actors. There isn't a bad performance in the bunch, which is something you generally expect in a low- budget indie film. The stand-out of course is the lead actress, Shera Becherd, who carries the film virtually all by herself. She's tough, vulnerable and incredibly sexy all at the same time. So often you see performances by women in revenge films who basically reduce themselves to female terminators - robotic killing machines without a feminine trait in sight - but her performance, considering her claims of never acting before, could easily go down as one of the best in the genre's history. There's also a striptease scene of her's that's worth the price of admission alone. I know I'll be hitting the rewind button a few times when I see it again on DVD...
All in all, Sweet Karma was not only one of the stand-outs of the festival for me, but one of my favourite films of the year so far. Highly recommended!
A mute Russian girl infiltrates Toronto's underground sex trade to avenge the death of her sister.
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