Cam is one of Netflix’s newest acquisitions.
A 94-minute thrill ride directed by Daniel Goldhaber that has Madeline Brewer in the leading role as Alice/Lola.
Alice is an ambitious woman who works as a sex performer on the website ‘Free Girls Life’ (FGL).
Alice’s Internet persona, Lola performs erotic shows in her all-pink bedroom and her popularity is steadily rising.
Closer than ever to her goal of reaching the top 50, Alice tries different avenues to appeal to broader tastes, such as performing a “live suicide”.
Brewer’s performance is very powerful as she delivers two different but very similar characters.
Alice is a quiet girl, at times very dull.
Lola has a confident, energetic and goal-driven persona that strives to get better.
The film unravels as Alice comes closer to her goal of reaching the top 50.
Almost able to taste victory, she agrees to do a show that is so extreme, the other girls shiver from the thought.
Blinded by the possibility of reaching her aim, Lola prepares the show and finally breaks her record, settling herself a solid spot on the ranking.
However, upon waking, she finds she has been locked out of her account.
As she tried to get her account back, she realises she’s also been ranked by a woman that looks exactly like her and is taking over her channel – this woman also goes by the name Lola.
We follow Alice as she is stripped of her “right” to be Lola and watches her persona grow as something independent, unable to stop it.
Cam perfectly builds Alice’s/Lola’s rise so that her fall is totally believable.
Especially for the audience who is accustomed to the fast-paced internet and knows how easily one can annihilate one’s reputation in a matter of seconds.
Lola is Alice’s doppelganger – her double – a narcissistic extension that guarantees immorality.
Alice is very reserved, walking with her head down; when she’s Lola, she is dominant and very aware of her power.
However, becoming Lola has serious consequences for Alice.
As she lets her other self become more and more real, the moment she oversteps her boundaries, she loses her power over Lola and lets her persona roam free, becoming something independent from her.
Lola is formed from Alice’s unconscious ability to produce dreams; therefore, she is the uncanny – something that deep down is known to Alice but has been repressed before finally returning to the surface.
The moment Lola becomes stronger, Alice’s own self starts to collapse.
The moment she is forced to face her doppelganger’s growth she is confronted with questions about her own self and realises must fight for her right to exist.
The double is then fulfilling its role of foreshadowing death.
Alice must kill Lola in order to reinstate her true self and regain her identity, otherwise Lola will grow enough to make Alice’s identity redundant.
Cam gives us a modern take on Frankenstein’s dilemma.
Victor Frankenstein has created a monster that is now far too powerful. In order to reinstate normalcy, he must kill the monster.
Alice is no different, she must kill her doppelganger. But how to do that if Lola lives inside her camera, unable to be reached and touched?
In his first feature as a director, Goldhaber delivers a frantic film that works well with its tools but doesn’t deliver as expected.
Cam builds up to its resolution but fails to give the audience a proper climax.
The film excels in giving Brewer the freedom to explore the duality of her character and the depths of her acting abilities.
Cam also explores the world of sex in the world wide web with a sad numbness, casting a light on fetishes and the ordinary lives of women who work in the sex industry.
Female agency is also a theme. Alice isn’t ashamed of her work; she’s ashamed of not being the best.
Therefore, her plans of coming clean to her mother will be put in motion when she reaches the top position.
When Alice is confronted by the others about the nature of her job, the film stands by her and calls out for the hypocrisy of the world.
If we all consume porn, then why do we judge it so strongly?
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