Another handsome couple out on a date, taking wine at a sleek Manhattan bistro. "Did you like the movie?" he asks. She did.
And so begins The Girlfriend Experience, Steven Soderbergh's short and anything-but-sweet case study of a high-priced escort and the men, and money, in her life.
Made last fall, as the presidential election and the plummeting economy dominated headlines, the beautifully photographed (by Soderbergh) digital feature is moderately compelling and clinical. This isn't Breakfast at Tiffany's; this isn't even Klute.
Christine/Chelsea (her escort name), played by the porn star Sasha Grey with a smart wardrobe and a flat affect, matter-of-factly goes about her business. She keeps a journal in her laptop ("I wore a Michael Kors dress . . ." "It was a very awkward departure . . .") and takes a wad of bills ($2,000 an hour is her rate) to the bank. Her clients - hedge-funders, showbizzers, international guys - advise her on investments. She lunches with an escort friend, sharing stories, trading advice.