Review by Paul Townend
What a mess. Walk All Over Me is a film that advertises itself as a titillating tale of a dominatrix and her submissive clients, but deviates rapidly into a rather unpleasant crime thriller with lots of mashed-in faces and gratuitous violence.
Alberta (Leelee Sobiski) is a hapless convenience store clerk who screws up once too often and hightails it out of her nowhere Alberta town for Vancouver, where she hopes to restart her life with a friend, Celine (Tricia Helfer), who used to baby sit her as a kid. Trouble is, Celine has reinvented herself as a high-price dominatrix, with a life plan to become anactress when she has put aside enough cash. She views the arrival of Alberta as a nuisance and agrees to allow her to stay only if she “doesn’t screw up again.”
Things move along smoothly at first, until Alberta decides to cash in with Celine`s clients and assumes the role of a bumbling, amateur dominatrix. Her first client, Paul (Jacob Teirney), seems harmless enough – he wants to be treated like an affectionate puppy – until three violent hoods turn up, demanding money they think Paul has stolen from them, a cool half-a-million dollars. From this point on, the Walk All Over Me goes seriously off the rails as Alberta and Celine must find a way to lose the hoods and grab the cash. With a lot of wasted footage, the enterprising ladies eventually come out on top, proving it`s hard to keep a good dominatrix down.
Walk All Over Me is a classic example of a film that`s interesting for the first 45 minutes, but falls apart after that. Many scenes in the middle with the hoods, apart from being very violent, don’t amount to much or tell us anything about the two ladies, and the resolution, when it finally comes, amounts to very little. Director Robert Cuffley has some stylish flourishes, with lots of overhead shots, that presumably come from his background as a music video director, but he is let down by his own script, which is an unsettling mixture of kinky sex (which is never fully explored), offbeat humour, and low-rent crime melodrama.
He is also let down by his leading ladies, who look great in tight bodices and push-up bras but have limited acting abilities. Lothaire Bluteau gives a creditable, creepy performance as a violence-loving gangster who has his own needs to dominate his two idiot accomplices, nicely played by Michael Eklund and Michael Adamthewaite, who provide much of the humour.
Walk All Over Me was picked up Harvey Weinstein for distribution after it was screened at the Toronto and Calgary film festivals earlier this year, and will certainly do better than Cuffley’s debut feature from 2002, the dreary melodrama Turning Paige. If he keeps at it, he possibly has a career in the movies, but he would be better severed by a more accomplished screenwriter than himself.
Also see: The Cast & Crew of Walk All Over Me.