Pound of Flesh (2011)
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Angus MacFadyen, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Timothy Bottoms
Director: Timar Simon Hoffs
Studio: Odyssey Moving Images CTE-BD-109 [11/15/11]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Extras: The Making of Pound of Flesh,” Outtakes, Interview with Malcolm McDowell, Trailers
Length: 97 minutes
The plot for this film sounds like the worst exploitation flick, but it is actually based on true events, has some top actors in it, and even won an award at the Sacramento Film Festival. One could take it as a timely protest against the outrageous tuition at many colleges that saddles students forever with a lifetime loan. McDowell plays a unique type of anti-hero. He is an older and very popular college professor of English literature who provides scholarships for the gorgeous girls attending his classes who can’t afford the huge tuition. (Why they attend to begin with is unexplained.) He does this by running an escort service whose clients include the chairman of the school board and the chief of police. He makes no profit for himself nor has relations with the girls, but lets the girls use the money they make to pay their tuition. He also has a devoted wife (a former student) and child who makes cookies for the professor, and on that act the policewoman discounts him as suspect.
However, he is naive about the dangerous situations some of the girls get into, and the film opens with one girl who gets killed – accidentally, but still something that eventually gets trailed back to the professor. Involved is a moralistic police detective with his own problems, who becomes a sort of Javert for his own reasons, after the professor’s Valjean. The film’s title comes from The Merchant of Venice, which the professor is teaching in his class that is depicted. Next to the closing titles some of the girls speak about their sexual lives and working for their “scholarships” — scripted of course but seomwhat interesting. MacDowell must have had great fun making this film. It’s not rated; understandably.
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.