Okay, Vince Vouyer isn't exactly Kirk Douglas, and Control isn't The Bad and The Beautiful. But, as an adult film making a significant statement about power trips, lust and corruption (and lest we forget, control) in the Hollywood movie game, Control lends more than a good account of itself.
Like a raw-knuckled punch to the sensibilities, the film dishes out sex with an acute, though-provoking edge that slices brutally deep. And, on the glorious road to ruin that seems to be the inevitable price of doing business, glamour, sensuality and style practically swerve into the fast lane of manipulation and mindgames.
As a woman who wants to be in control of her own destiny, Lené has never translated sex appeal more alluringly and in a manner to warrant a Best Actress nomination. Sindee Coxx, as a controlling, unsupportive and dismissive wife/actress is seedy enough to plant a national forest. Sindee's rallying cry, "A million bucks is not much of an opportunity" might offer some clue to where her character's head is at. It's certainly not clipping discount coupons but it definitely is in the running for a Best Supporting Actress nod, thanks to one explosive encounter, in particular, with Vouyer.
And, controlled by the impersonal dictates of the box office, Coxx's husband, Jon Dough, slumps around like a Thorazine patient; but, hey, that's his particular character's bent, which is often of the Quasimodo variety.
A has-been matinee idol, Dough harps on the strings of his long-time friend, Vouyer, who's made it big as a producer of Tinseltown. Unfortunately, Dough can't prevail on Vince's good nature because there isn't any.
Dough wants the lead role in Vouyer's new film. ONly one problem. A dismissive prick on his best days, Vince carries a torch for Dough's wife (Coxx) sufficient enough to burn down an Olympic village. And Sindee's certainly no stranger to the game. She manipulates Vince and orchestrates her hubby back to the silver screen only to pull the run out from under him in a nasty divorce action. Even Vince is repulsed by her actions, and that's going some.
In its own sprawling fashion, Control makes the determined architecture of the California lifestyle enticing enough to go to the edge for it. Question put as always, is it worth selling one's soul for a piece of the landscape? If the opening scene offers any inclination, Melissa Hill and Lené practically beg the viewer to dive head first into a bidding war and make it a three-way. Plenty of skin and enormously provocative camera angles sets the tone from the get-go.
Later in the film, Lené obviously born to splash about naked in a hot tub, pulls a sexual power play with Vince that creates one of the most stirring and exciting couples scenarios of the year. Lené's exquisite tease before the action begins in earnest is also sufficient to demand its own nomination.
But, if any one scene defines both the film's elegance and its nastiness, one must hasten to include mention of the Coxx-Vouyer-Lexus threesome, which wraps desire and total submission into a searing package of lust.
If the film betrays one fault, it's that Vince's fall from grace is detailed with the tender scrutiny of a bar code scanner at a supermarket. Check-out time in Hollywood was never faster.