Trois 3: The Escort (2004)
“In debt. In danger. In deep.”
Director: Skav One (Sylvain White)
Cast: Brian White, Patrice Fisher, Reagan Gomez-Preston
Synopsis: When a hip-hop promoter is bailed out of a hefty debt by a club owner, he becomes one of her call boys and nearly loses his life in the process.
Trois 3: The Escort is a fairly ordinary urban thriller/drama with unfortunate artistic aspirations that perpetually draw the viewer’s attention toward the directing and editing pyrotechnics instead of the events taking place on the screen. Brian White plays Trent, an aspiring concert promoter who gets himself into debt to gangster Benny Grier (Isaiah Washington) when his act fails to show at a sell-out gig. Trent’s debt to Bennie is bought by Kyria (Patrice Fisher), nightclub owner and madam, who not only sets Trent to work as a high-class gigolo but also welcomes him into her bed. Things start to go wrong, however, when Trent falls for Lena (Reagan Gomez-Preston), another member of Kyria’s ‘stable.’
There’s not much originality in Gregory Ramon Anderson’s story, but the acting is solid and the direction, for all its pretentiousness, suggests that Sylvain White has at least put a lot of thought and effort into the project. Trouble with a story like this is that it paints too rosy a picture of life as a male escort. Now, I’m no expert on the profession but I really can’t believe that a gigolo’s client list will be comprised entirely of the hot and sassy types that Trent services in this film. No way would these girls have to resort to paying a man for sex. I would expect at least a few of the women to be at probably thirty years older than the ones we see, and at least four stone heavier. I’d also expect a few of them to be men. And aren’t there some double standards at work here? If the roles were reversed, and Trent was a young woman sucked into prostitution, the clients would be depicted as seedy, middle-aged men with few redeeming features. Also, the profession here is painted as a kind of psychologist-cum-emotional consultant role, which is quite frankly ludicrous. Not exactly important points, admittedly, but when you’re aiming for that gritty urban style it’s always a good idea to keep it realistic.
The areas of conflict in this film are pretty obvious within the first fifteen minutes — and there’s nothing really wrong with that, but it does mean that the story tends to plod a little at times. Patrice Fisher makes an agreeably calculating femme fatale and has the potential to go further if she picks her roles with care, but Brian White, while delivering an acceptable performance, doesn’t really possess the level of presence necessary to carry a film. Reagan Gomez-Preston is also convincing as Trent’s love interest, a call girl with artistic ambitions, and it’s a shame that Isaiah Washington has so little screen time as his work is good. Strangely enough, having mentioned the predictability of the plot, Anderson throws in a totally unexpected twist in the last five minutes that surprises, even though it fails to convince and is totally unnecessary. The film was over — why prolong it for another five minutes for the sake of jumping onto the ‘twist ending’ bandwagon?
Finally, on a positive note, given the subject matter of the material, White and co. are to be commended for resisting the temptation of straying toward the exploitative. There’s nudity, to be sure, but we’re not bombarded with it and, in this area at least, the film has got it right.