Sexy Sigourney in a Slaughter-ed Thriller
Working as a researcher at the Arab-Anglo Institute in London, Dr. Lauren Slaughter (Sigourney Weaver) is both frustrated by the chauvinistic attitude of her superiors but also the pittance she is expeted to live on. In order to live more comfortably Lauren starts to work for the Jasmine Escort Agency where she is able to earn more money and control the men who become her clients with her sexuality. When one of her dates turns out to be Lord Bulbeck (Michael Caine), who is trying to broker a peace deal between the Arabs and Israelis, things become complicated as they fall for each other. But is the meeting of Dr. Slaughter and Lord Bulbeck purely accidental or is there something more to it all.
I am both bemused and confused by "Half Moon Street" as reading the blurb on the back of the DVD box it makes it sound like a sexy thriller set against the attempts to broker peace between Arabs and Israelis. Well it most certainly isn't a thriller in fact the whole element of bringing peace between two nations barely raises it's head providing a dramatic climax to the movie and little else. And that leaves "Half Moon Street" trying to be sexy as it follows Dr. Slaughter as she becomes an escort girl which basically means numerous scenes of a naked Sigourney Weaver, not an unpleasant sight but not what I expected. Oh it has some nice scenes, the relationship between Dr. Slaughter and Lord Bulbeck is interesting but it almost feels like "Half Moon Street" ended up focusing on the sexy side of things too much and ignoring the political drama which would have made it the thriller it should have been.
One of the confusing aspects of "Half Moon Street" is for the first part it appears to be a movie about sexual inequality as we watch Dr. Lauren Slaughter falling foul of old fashioned British chauvinism, continually passed over in the work place. You begin to think that maybe this movie is going to make some stand about women's rights and equality and to be honest the character of Dr. Slaughter is a strong independent woman who as we learn is very much in control of what she does with her body.
But then Half Moon Street" turns from focusing on this women's right element to one of sexuality as Dr. Slaughter becomes a highly paid escort to subsidise her poor earnings and whilst you still watch Dr. Slaughter in control of what she does it transcends into weak eroticism. There is literally scene after scene of Sigourney Weaver naked, usually topless, be it in the bath, on an exercise bike, in bed and in what only feels like exploitation standing in front of a mirror doing her make up just wearing a suspender belt. It all feels very wrong and whilst the relationship between Dr. Slaughter and Lord Bulbeck is interesting after he hires her for an evening it feels like the focus of the movie is too much on Sigourney Weaver being naked.
As such the whole thriller aspect of the storyline, the plot surrounding Lord Bulbeck brokering a peace deal between Arabs and Israelis is for the most ignored. It comes to the fore during the last 20 minutes or so but feels strangely out of place in a movie which for so long has attempted to deliver eroticism through Dr. Slaughter sleeping with various men, or strangely being photographed by one riding an exercise bike topless. It just feels like that what "Half Moon Street" should have been about, the excitement of Dr. Slaughter getting caught up in a political conspiracy is put to the side in favour of trying to make it sexy and erotic.
The ironic thing is that whilst it feels like the focus of "Half Moon Street" is wrong the actual performances aren't bad. Sigourney Weaver gets across the character of Dr. Slaughter as this strong woman, someone who is in control of her body and finds the whole chauvinism both wrong but also slightly amusing. Michael Caine delivers both smoothness and mystery as Lord Bulbeck and paired with Weaver works well. And in a smaller part is Nadim Sawalha as the very mysterious Karim. In many ways the performances whilst not great are superior to the actual story.
What this all boils down to is that "Half Moon Street" is a very confused movie. It feels like it should be a sexy political thriller but fails to focus on the thriller aspect in favour of trying to be sexy. But even though the focus is on Dr. Slaughter working as an escort and as such features Sigourney Weaver both naked and having sex it isn't really that erotic, in fact some of those supposedly erotic scenes end up quite laughable.