Tuesday, September 26, 2006

KINKY BOOTS

Joel Edgerton Kinky Boots Directed by Julian Jarrold
Starring Joel Edgerton
Reviewed by Byron Merritt

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP FILM REVIEW RATING!


When Charlie Price inherited his family’s shoe factory after the death of his father, he also inherited a financial mess. Their shoe styles aren’t selling with a market flooded by cheap Taiwan imports.

But one fateful night, Charlie runs into Lola, a drag queen, who jabs an idea into his head: make women’s shoes for men. Specifically, make footwear for cross-dressers who can’t find the appropriate sizes and sex appeal they require.

The Price Shoe Company quickly gets to work on the idea, encountering problems with men’s weight on women’s heels, financial woes, and the internal conflicts of workers at the factory who aren’t very keen on the idea of creating "sex in a tube," the unofficial term for these new boots and shoes.

Setting out a plan to display his new shoe styles at the Milan show, Charlie is forced to mortgage his own home, causing a rift to develop between him and his fiancé (a rift that grows because of her manipulative behavior and improprieties).

The fact that this story is based on an actual shoe company is probably the biggest kick (no pun intended). Picturing a stodgy old English factory pumping out transgender pumps is quite the image, and
KINKY BOOTS uses it to full advantage; the building they’re in is an old brick-and-mortar behemoth with half-rimmed glasses wearing employees running sexy red velvet boots through ancient looking machines.

But the biggest success in the film is the acting. Chiwetel Ejiofor presents an Oscar-caliber performance as Lola, the drag queen with a footwear fetish. It’s hard to imagine that this is the same bad-ass who played The Operative in the sci-fi smash SERENITY. Joel Edgerton plays the lead role of Charlie Price and the painful decisions he makes are delivered admirably and with angst. The remaining actors do justice to their respective parts, but one that I have to give extra praise to is Nick Frost’s portrayal of Don, the factory worker who has to deal with his own prejudices towards Lola’s sexual identity. I loved Frost in SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and his great acting here (especially during an arm wrestling scene between him and Ejiofor) is highly notable.

Although the script is rather blase, the acting made this flick very watchable. If you decide to check out Kinky Boots, make sure you pay attention to Ejiofor’s performance. It’ll make you stand up and cheer.

Click here for the Kinky Boots movie trailer!

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