Anja Marquardt’s striking debut feature, “She’s Lost Control,” depicts the slow unraveling of behavioral psychology student and sex surrogate Rhona (a remarkable Brooke Bloom) as she attempts to navigate the clinical intimacies with her clients. Simultaneously, she’s trying to finish her graduate degree, fend off family troubles and cope with an apartment that’s a near-slum.
Mark Menchaca co-stars as Rhona’s most problematic client, Johnny, and his brooding brutishness speaks to an inner torment on the cusp of violently breaking the surface. Bloom does fine, subtle work here, as a woman constantly keeping her emotions tamped down, without any outlet. Though she expends much effort to keep things under control, external forces prove difficult to overcome, and the workplace hazards grow more and more dangerous as she falls deeper down the rabbit hole.
Marquardt demonstrates a sure hand and deft control over the film’s icy tone. Desaturated cinematography lends to the effect, and the result is a disquieting and chilling rumination on modern sex, love and relationships that leaves the audience with no easy answers.
The viewer is initially dropped into scenes with little to no context, contributing to the uneasy, unmoored sensation that mimics the characters’ wayward journeys. The cinematic style and themes of urban alienation reflect almost a 1970s thriller quality, though the execution is decidedly modern. “She’s Lost Control” is a quiet triumph, a true herald of a distinctive and necessary voice in cinema.
“She’s Lost Control”
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle’s NoHo 7, North Hollywood.