Starting out with much the same psycho-sexual foreplay found in David Croneberg's similarly themed (at least at first sight) perverse conundrum Crash, but eventually sliding into a cliche-hampered near derailment midway through, Quid Pro Quo is quite the half movie indeed. Director Carlos Brooks, not being the auteur Cronenberg is, slip-shods his way from the intriguing tale of a paraplegic public radio talk show host falling half-wittingly (just like in Crash?) into an underground world of able-bodied people desiring to become paralyzed and confined to wheelchairs into a quite contrived story of wishfulfillment-cum-retribution - and Brooks does all this with the subtle ease of an actual car crash.
Luckily for Brooks, the one thing that does manage to hold this somewhat schizophrenic film together and halt (or at least slow down a bit) its downward spiral is the crazy-eyed come hither performance of Vera Farmiga as Fiona, a woman who so desires to be the cripple on the outside that she is on the inside. With legs that ironically go through the roof and a sort of Veronica Lake on crack look about her, Fiona (and Farmiga) is the kind of woman you don't know whether you want to slap or fuck - though I suspect she would like both please. In the end, as long as she keeps the film from falling too far out of reach, does it really matter which one it is?
Crash this film certainly is not, but a fun and creepy and quite kinky ride it is, even if it goes a ways off course in the second half. A filmmaker with promise, Brooks could make use of this quiet madness of his (something he has in common with Cronenberg) to create a great film someday (without any hint of my usual sarcism, my fingers are crossed) and perhaps even be spoken of in the same awe as Cronenberg. Quid Pro Quo may very well be the first spark of the fire that is to come. With a follow-up synopsised as such - "A thriller centered on a young woman and her autistic little brother who are trapped in a house with a ravenous tiger during a hurricane" - who knows what we will get. Seriously though, lets keep our fingers crossed, I think it may be worth it. [06/29/08]