NEW TO AMAZON PRIME! I love movies that subvert expectations. Director T. Arthur Cottam and screenwriter William Norrett’s One Hour Outcall is not what you expect. While multiple timelines are not that unique of a device in film, when used correctly, they can tell an incredible story.
The “outcall” of the title refers to our lead Greg’s (William Norrett) weekly appointment with escort Esmeralda (Natalia Ochoa). The gimmick behind the film is its story is told by shifting between seven or eight encounters as they run parallel to one another. Each jump reveals small bits of the overall story while crisscrossing in an incredibly creative way.
The film opens as you’d imagine. It appears as if we’re following Greg and Esmeralda engaging in various forms of roleplay with each separate encounter. One is their first time together, another has Esmeralda acting in a dominant role, then “girl next door” experience, and another makes Greg look real creepy… scary creepy. Are these separate roleplays? Maybe, maybe not. There’s another timeline with Esmeralda going out to dinner with her mother that oddly seems out of place until it isn’t.
There’s more to this relationship than a simple business arrangement. Both Greg and Esmeralda are hiding secrets from one another. In fact, Greg has a huge secret that involves Esmeralda’s personal life. Now, add the whole sex worker angle that overlays the entire story.
“…we’re following Greg and Esmeralda engaging in various forms of roleplay with each separate encounter.”
Like flipping channels on your remote, what’s brilliant about One Hour Outcall is that while the encounters appear to be a form of roleplay between Greg and Esmeralda, they aren’t. As confusing as this may seem, it works—mainly because what you think is the correct order of the storylines at the start is shown as wrong, and the new order is a revelation unto itself.
There are two negatives to the film. First is the acting. Natalia Ochoa is excellent. She’s a delight and is engaging on screen. William Norrett is not as good. He’s a much better writer than an actor. His performance is noticeably stilted, though he does pull off the important ending quite well. It just feels like he’s reciting lines on stage instead of giving a natural performance for cinema.
The other negative is the editing. Ironically, not the editing from one story to the next (which is brilliant), but the editing within each scene. It’s so basic with its use of coverage. It gives off the feeling that the film is stringing together clips of actors saying lines, but it doesn’t feel like a single thread of dialogue.
Negatives aside, I loved One Hour Outcall, and it is worth repeat viewings, just to bring greater clarity to the subtleties of the story.
"…the editing from one story to the next...is brilliant..."