One of my best friends in the 80s/90s was a dominatrix/stripper named Louise. We met through theater; she was one of the most dedicated theater people I’ve ever met. I worked as her substitute driver for two weekends and made enough money to visit California. So, while not part of the lifestyle, I have some first-hand knowledge of the environment. I turned down a fulltime job offer because (A) I didn’t want to work for the mob and (B) after six to eight hours of bachelor parties, I didn’t want to be a guy anymore. Guys are assholes.
Written by and starring Lorrisa Julianus, The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater gets everything right in the first five minutes – the contempt of passersby, venomous former classmates, the (erroneous) assumption of intermingled genitalia and the fact that a tight latex outfit will go right up your ass-crack.
Julianus is luminous as Ava, a reluctant dominatrix contracted to frame Father Radovan Marcovic (Mickey O’Sullivan), a Serbian-born priest in a small Illinois town. There are Russian gangsters, duplicitous politicians and a best friend who may or may not be a treacherous bastard. The acting throughout is uniformly excellent, especially O’Sullivan and really especially Julianus. Other standouts are Shannon Brown as the flamboyant Gabe, Adam Christopher as the evil Boris and Dave Lichty as the slimy Mayor.
Highlights include the opening sequence – a day in the life of a dominatrix, Ava’s car chase rescue of somebody important, the ultimate fate of Hubert and a burning building that is pretty impressive for an indie release.
C.J. Julianus’ direction is adept, and the pacing is tight. It is rarely obvious that it is an independent production. Very nicely done.
Are there things I didn’t like? Of course. There is a moment near the end that I thought didn’t make sense (a thug obeying somebody weaker than himself), but on further consideration, it makes sense that his boss has crossed a personal moral line and the thug is fine with obliging the seeker. But there is a flaw in the script that probably couldn’t have been helped. The Revelations at the top of act three drag the film almost to a halt, even with the horrifying flashback. Too wordy for that point in the film. But the structure of the script demands that they be there, so I don’t really know how I would fix that. Some On the Nose dialogue: the lectures about female subjugation are unnecessary. They are delivered at moments of female triumph, and they don’t need to be said. We get it without the lecturing. But these flaws are not deal-breakers. The film is available on Amazon Prime Video as of October 30, 2020.
If you like well done indie films, check out The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater. Mickey O’Sullivan gives a brilliant performance, and Lorrisa Julianus’ work is a star maker.