'The Model' opens with shots of city streets - but what city? It's not New York - no gleaming skyscrapers - and those narrow, hilly streets belong to neither London nor Copenhagen (this is a Danish film). Actually, it is Paris - director Mads Matthiesen fooling the viewer by ignoring the film convention that every establishing shot of the French capital must feature the Eiffel Tower. The story follows Emma, a painfully slim young Dane, who arrives in the city ready to begin her career as a fashion model. Her supporting cast are quickly established - Zofia, a prickly fellow model who becomes her friend; and a fatherly landlord. Her first shoot, with temperamental British photographer Shane, does not go well, but one dance at a nightclub later and Emma is not only Shane's favourite model but is also tumbling into bed with him. Soon she is swept up in an exciting lifestyle of glamorous fashion shoots, girly confidences with Zofia and parties where dishes of cocaine are presented as interesting table decorations.
To be frank, the film is not a success. The storyline is very soapy, but the pacing is slow in far too many places. This is partly because central character Emma, as played by Maria Palm (a real-life model), is rather glum and lifeless, wafting about the screen like a floaty curtain (but Palm deserves credit for acting not just in her native Danish, but also in English and French). The viewer's feeling that he's watching a soap opera is reinforced by Ed Skrein as Shane, whose husky voice and showy mannerisms are straight out of 'Hollyoaks'. The story does not share with the viewer the legal ramifications for Emma of the climactic scene (you'll know when you've reached it) and there's a very noticeable continuity error when, during a conversation between Emma and Shane, the camera focuses on the back of the latter's neck - in one shot the label of his T-shirt is sticking up, in the next it's no longer visible - a minor thing, admittedly, but one I found distracting. All of which means I'm marking this film 'must try harder'.
THE MODEL tells the story of emerging fashion model Emma who struggles to enter the Parisian fashion scene and develops a dangerous obsession for male fashion photographer Shane White.
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