Director Billy Corben has stumbled onto one of the most controversial films of the modern day. With the legal issues of womens rights and sexual harrassment always jarring heated debates this film is, quite simply, gasoline on the fire. “Raw Deal” is not just a pornographic documentary of an evening of sex, strippers, drunkeness, drugs, dirtier sex and the eventual alleged rape of exotic dancer Lisa Gier King; it is also a very thorough accounting of the months of legal issues that eventually took place.
The date is Friday, Febuary 26, 1999 and the Delta Chi fraternity brothers at the University of Flordia throw a party with the obligatory collegiate setpieces — drunken guys, naked women and more drunken guys. Sounds like your average big, dumb male party until the next morning when King frantically flees from the frat house and lands straight in the police station, accusing Michæl Yarhaus of rape. This is where the s**t really does hit the fan because once the police get involved, it is discovered that the boys (luckily) had not one, but TWO video cameras recording almost the entire evening’s events! (Please read on — it gets more bizarre) So now, the police in dumbf**k Florida view the pornographic footage and decide not only to drop the charges against the boys, but to arrest King for filing a fraudulent report!
What proceeds, over the next few months, is a tale of almost comical proportions that makes one realize that maybe the state officials in Florida ARE as dumb as they have recently been accused. Maybe we should simply sever the panhandle state from the continent and let the Cubans deal with it.
“Raw Deal” is not really a film that can be “rated” on your average scale since the subject matter is so unbelievably powerful, but that can be “judged” is the way in which the events are presented. More than simply heads speaking their side of a seven-layered cake, there is actual footage of the piece of testimony to either support the claim of the interviewee or prove them wrong. This is really where the film triumphs. It not only is one of the better-edited docs in quite some time but it is also one of the most compelling pieces of non-fiction ever produced.
While it may not succeed in finding a concrete solution to numerous questions, the film, at its base, makes a valiant attempt to uncover all pertinent answers. We get to see rejections from the ladies of N.O.W. (who would NOT give an interview unless they were paid a substantial amount of money) to the state Attorney General, Rod Smith (who also abstained from commenting). The fact the these two orgs kept quiet to the documentary crew is not the most amusing thing; what is so entertaining is watching the guys chase these groups down to no avail, repeatedly.
This is a film that MUST be seen by men and women, together, if not to expose this amazing story to the world, then just to see how split down the middle men vs. women are in regards to the outcome. You decide which way each sex falls.