Women in Trouble, the debut feature from Sebastian Guiterrez, the writer of Snakes on a Plane, among other things is a pleasant, but insubstantial film, chronicling the loosely overlapping stories of ten women, mostly in Los Angeles, over the course of a single day. It’s the kind of movie that never bores when you’re watching it, but doesn’t leave you with too much to think about afterward.
The film was shot quickly, to accommodate a diverse cast of notable actors, including Carla Gugino, Connie Britton and Josh Brolin. Most of the stories are centered around lengthy setpiece dialogue segments, like Britton and Gugino’s ruminations on life while trapped in an elevator. This means that the film can at times seem stagebound, though it’s refreshing to just spend time with characters in a film, and not be so burdened by the need of playing out a narrative.
The film is shot on digital video, and generally looks good. I think the digital video aesthetic is beautiful and gives things a fresher feel than traditional 35mm film, opening up the possibility for more visual experimentation. However, most of the film sticks to a fairly traditional shooting style. The most notable moments of visual virtuosity occur in the occasional interspersed quick cut still photo montages, or the great looking credits sequence, which uses a collage style to present the cast.
The film shares two cast members with Tarantino and Rodriguez’s Grindhouse, and in tone and structure, it definitely recalls that film. The outré subject matter, many of the characters are porn stars or hookers, and insistence on getting every female cast member down to their underwear feel very exploitation cinema. The film’s low point is pop culture referencing dialogue between two stewardesses that feels like Death Proof, but bad.
Apart from that scene, the film does a good job of capturing the rambling vibe that a lot of '70s exploitation cinema really had. Most of those movies had just enough setpieces to populate the trailer, and filled the rest with lengthy dialogue scenes to pad the running time. Most of those films weren’t all-time classics, but they had a low key charm, and this film shares that.
The film has a lot of flaws, but it builds a compelling enough world that you can enjoy just spending some time there and getting to know these people. I’m glad to see big stars taking some time to do a lower budget project and it’s good to see to something like this getting distributed, even if it is only a limited release.