To my knowledge, there must be only a few films which have dealt with the terrible theme of child prostitution. I dont remember seeing any serious movie actually. This is quite a serious topic and it does definitely have a ' handle with care' sticker, may be the reason, why there is hardly any movies on this topic. Mr. Williams, definitely wanted to make a thriller, but puts in the issue of children being used, in a brilliant way. Gem of a movie, for sure.
Joanne a 11+ years old girl runs away from her home, to escape from her father, and is met by Kelly, a prostitute, who has been asked by Derek, a pimp, to find a little girl for a pedophile millionaire. Kelly and Joanne, then have to run for their lives.
That's how I would look at this plot, but it is told quite differently in the movie. It begins with Kelly and Joanne, Kelly injured and Joanne petrified, trying to run away from London to Brighton. We might even take them for a mother and daughter escaping from some crazy father or villains. And only through brilliantly placed flash backs, does the whole story come into light and that was brilliantly structured. The script, I must say was extremely brilliant. The whole drama is done within about 24 - 48 hours, I think, inlcuding all the flashbacks and we feel like we have lived through the whole period.
Towards the climax, we do get some feeling about the intentions of the millionaire's son, but the climax still is brilliant. Because, even if the movie is like a thriller, it is actually looking at the mind sets of two females. One a grown up who is already a prostitute, and one a 11 year old who just tried to attempt the job for some money. Their relationship is brilliant in the movie. Kelly is quite aware about the dirt behind her job, but is still forced to do it, but she tries hard for the girl, inlcuding selling herselves a couple of times to make some money for their expenses. And one of those scenes, which is edited so fast, makes us really feel sorry for her.
Joanne, being interviewed by Derek, pushing her into the job is one of the best scenes in this movie. We can only watch it with a deep fear, knowing that a little girl is about to be thrown into prostitution. This scene alone sends in a lot of messages against child prostitution. I think, I was watching most of this movie with an open mouth, with a kind of fear in my eyes and mind. It is definitely a hard watch. But it is a gem of a movie. Very successful in crossing the bridge, from the script to the viewer.
The performances of Loraine Stanley as Kelly and Georgia Groome as Joanne were truly brilliant. There is not a moment when you dont feel for them. But towards the end, they really touch us deep.
A brilliant plot, brilliantly scripted and directed. A real thriller, with a message.
I would rate this as one of the best British movies, I have seen.