Cam (2018) [Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival 2018]

In the competitive world of cam girls, Lola/Alice has created herself a good niche and is gaining in popularity. As she reaches higher and higher levels, her account and personality are taken over and she must figure out who or what is behind it to regain her rightful place.

Written by Isa Mazzei and directed by Daniel Goldhaber from a story by Isabelle Link-Levy, Mazzei, and Goldhaber, Cam is a look into the world of cam girls that doesn’t judge or blame, it’s a look at how one of them can rise up in a world where things are getting raunchier and more extreme by the minute. Here the lead is a regular girl who happened to find work in that field and make a really good living it. As is the case with many things, her subsequent fame has her more interested in what she can gain than what she can give until it’s all taken away suddenly. As the film explores themes of image, voyeurism, greed, lust, obsession, consumerism, paranoia, and instant gratification amongst others, it also explores how far one will go to maintain their status and their career, oftentimes no matter what. The most interesting aspect of the film however is how one can be detached from their own sexuality and how others can view this as a way into their lives. The cam girl phenomenon is one that is fascinating and here is used to more nefarious ends in a way while also showing how girls can end up in this field and not want out once they attain a certain level of fame and income. The film being made by a team of female and male writer and director brings both perspectives to material and allows it to feel like it has a take that is somehow a bit more feminine on the subject. Together they achieve something that brings the film into a mostly non-judgmental place and a place that works for the material and how it develops.

In the lead of Lola/Alice is actress Madeline Brewer is bubbly and full of life for most of the movie, she shows her character as not being forced into the work and definitely enjoying what she is doing. Her performance dictates the film’s mood and gives it depth and interest beyond the simple wanting to see into a cam girl’s mind. Her screen presence is the film here as the entirety of it revolves around her and she is the one to attract attention no matter who else is on the screen. This is her film and she knows it, she grabs it and the viewer’s attention and doesn’t let go. The other cam girls in the film come off a bit less important but they are interesting in how they show different sides of the business and of what watchers want to see and what is popular. The cast for the girls is varied as they are and as interests and fetishes are.

Cam is shot in an almost bubbly style with cinematography by Katelin Arizmendi and editing by Daniel Garber who together bring the images to the screen in a way that is dynamic and energetic in just the right timing. The film feels like its lead, she’s happy so it’s colorful and joyfully bright, she’s stressed so it’s darker and mildly less bright, there is something about the images that bring the story to life, making it all feel like it is all part of Lola/Alice’s life with variations that fit both her real personality and the one she puts out on her cam. The film also shows interestingly the interactions on the screen in an interface that looks about realistic and makes the whole set up seems like it could be a thing on a site for cam girls.

Cam is a film that touches many themes and does so with a sense of style and respect almost that is not often seen with tackling subjects like voyeurism and certain angles of what some may consider part of the porn industry. Here the film is about its lead and how she tackles having her persona taken from her. It does so entertainingly and with an interest take near the end that may be supernatural or may just be something else entirely. The openness of what is happening is something that makes the film and its ending much more interesting than if it has been what one may think it is at first. There is more than meets the eye here and it will make some want to watch Cam more than once.

Cam is coming to Netflix US on November 16th, 2018.