One wonders why director Skav One felt the need to come to the party using a pseudonym, considering that his visual wizardly is a prime reason why “Trois: The Escort” is slightly better than average. The film is officially known as “Trois 3”, the third installment in the popular black-themed “Trois” series about, you guessed it, sex involving three people. First-time director Skav One cobbles a mostly pedestrian movie together with the kind of flair one isn’t used to seeing in independent films, but instead are the usual showcases of Hollywood directors who have graduated to Tinseltown from the MTV school of directing — that is, shaky cam, flashy editing, and quick cutting, to name just a few of the favored techniques of this new species of directors.
If not for Skav One’s technical know-how, I’m not sure if “The Escort” would meet even the low standards of the “Trois” series, especially considering how the original, and the sequel, were substandard works of “erotic” fiction to begin with. Alas, while “The Escort” does manage more heat than its two predecessors combined, a side effect of Skav One’s style of directing means there’s a whole lot of grunting and the sound of slapping flesh, but you’d have to slow the movie down to a frame per second to see any actual simulated sex taking place. As such, those looking for cheap thrills will be very disappointed. And considering that co-star Patrice Fisher teases mightily throughout the film, to finally see her taking part in the movie’s sexcapades, but to actually see very little, is one of the film’s major disappointments.
But I digress. “Trois: The Escort” follows the misadventures of affluent suburban black youth Trent (Brian J. White), the son of a prominent city official who dumps law school in favor of promoting hip hop concerts. When one of those concerts fall through and Trent becomes the object of violent gangster Benny’s attention, Trent is forced to come up with some quick cash less his pretty face be severely messed up. Luckily for him, he stumbles into the nightclub of a vixen named Kyra (Patrice Fisher), who promises Trent cash if he joins her stable of gigolos. Trent is hesitant at first, but the prospect of being a “shoo-in for the Special Olympics” courtesy of Benny’s violent tendencies make the decision for him.
The promise of quick cash and cheap sex comes easily for Trent, until it’s discovered that Benny (Isaiah Washington) has met a most unfortunate end, and that Kyra may in fact be responsible. (When confronted, she doesn’t exactly deny it.) Also, Trent has entered into a sexual relationship with the dominating Kyra, who has grown more possessive of him with each shadowy sex sequence. Unfortunately for Trent, while he’s falling in lust with Kyra, he’s falling in love with fellow prostitute Lena (Reagan Gomez-Preston), one of those happy go lucky hookers you only see in movies. What’s a gigolo with a gym rat’s body to do?
As mentioned, the real treat of “The Escort” is the flashy directorial style of Skav One, who throws every shooting, editing, and cutting trick he’s learned in film school and what must be a pile of music videos into his debut film. It’s a good thing, too, because the script by Greg Anderson (listed onscreen as “Mr. Anderson” — well excuuuuse me) is simply pedestrian. If you’ve seen any of the “girl enters prostitute profession and quickly regret it” movies of the ’90s (and boy were there a lot of them!) then you can probably predict every twist and turn of “The Escort”, right down to the last-reel surprise that might have looked good in the story meetings, but is just silly onscreen.
Skav One’s visual tricks aside, the film also benefits from a good lead in Brian White, who makes for an affable enough gigolo, with just the right combination of naivet’ and the good sense to realize it when he comes up against bad news. But the primary heat comes from Patrice Fisher, who gives a smothering performance as the madam, a woman who knows what she wants, how to get it, and when she confronts unmovable obstacle, isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in order to move it. Unfortunately, we get only one gratuitous shot of Ms. Fisher in a state of undress, while the rest of her supposedly marathon sex sessions with Trent are hidden in a fusillade of Skav One’s whiz-bang and sizzle. Don’t you just hate it when style gets in the way of cheap gratuitous sex?
“Trois: The Escort” is above average fare, but it’ll most likely be known as the indie movie that Skav One cut his teeth on before moving up to the big time. I can see the director taking on a bigger budgeted horror movie, where his slick directing style really benefits the atmosphere. Skav One (I hate having to type that stupid pseudonym over and over) certainly knows his way around a shot or two, and it’s to his credit that he knows exactly when to toss in 50 quick cuts in 1 second and when to leave in a long master shot.
As for the promised threesome, the film could have done without it. The whole sequence comes across as less erotic than any of Trent’s many shadowy “service calls”. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Patrice Fisher was involved in said threesome, and without a doubt it’s Ms. Fisher who single-handedly keeps “The Escort” from ever being boring.
Skav One (director) / Greg Anderson (screenplay)
CAST: Brian J. White …. Trent
Patrice Fisher …. Kyra
Reagan Gomez-Preston …. Lena
Isaiah Washington …. Benny