Chicken Ranch (1983)
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Critic Reviews for Chicken Ranch
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Audience Reviews for Chicken Ranch
One of Nick Broomfields earlier works, not surprisingly still a controversial topic, but not in his usual interview documentary mode, which seemed to work well for this film, leaving the camera to roll and the girls to do the talking.
Interesting topic/subject matter which portrays a little insight into the world?s oldest profession and based in no other than the notoriously known ?Chicken Ranch? which had a stage show and film made about it?s working girls.
An unintrusive glimpse into the life of a legal brother in the outskirts of Nevada. If you expect to find a descent into human perversion with this move then go look elsewhere, because this movie portrays the very human and, given the subject, surprisingly bleak day-to-day routine of a dozen prostitutes, a resolute brothel mother and a sharkish owner. The movie is set in the 1980s and it shows. The remote areas of the United States always had a thing for preserving ancient fashion styles but this movie is a feast for everyone who is constantly longing to resurrect the age of ABBA, Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson. The filmmakers do not intervene with their subjects, making the experience very gritty and realistic. So realistic in fact, that the owner of the brothel decided to dump the project halfway through, hence the total running time of 73. Minutes.
All in all, the movie is not an easy one to watch. The girls arouse pity and you will probably cringe a few times as they rant about their worst experiences so far and everytime you see some white trash trucker make off with a poor girl, the disgust clearly visible on her face.
Yet, as a film, the movie is daring and bold for choosing to portray the subject matter, but in terms of editing, camera and so forth it is not very watchable. Therefore, as a film, I reward it only two stars, although the subject matter is very interesting, but that should not be credited to the filmmakers.
An unvarnished portrayal of the goings-on at a legal Nevada brothel, just before the AIDS epidemic hit in 1983.
There is no setup, no voice-over, no rush to judgment about any of the players, with the possible exception of the creepy owner.
The underlying theme is not lust but loneliness -- the girls visibly wilting as they live with the consequences of a life of anonymous sex; the customers, cheapskates and shame-faced; only the madam is able to maintain some personal dignity.
A searing indictment of the "sex industry" and the terrible price it exacts from all involved.
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