Jack is an internet gambler living in NYC who becomes fixated on Scarlet – a cam girl from San Francisco. His obsession reaches a boiling point when fantasy materializes in reality and Jack sees Scarlet on a rainy Chinatown street.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film like ‘PVT Chat’ before, a film that blends different genres together but at an overall level is probably best described as an erotic drama. It tells the story of Jack (Peter Vack), an internet gambler who is addicted to spending time online, either gambling on casino sites or talking to cam girls. He becomes obsessed with one particular cam girl called Scarlett (Julia Fox) and as they begin to share more details of their real lives with each other, the façade that exists through the screen starts to breach and the line between fantasy and reality starts to blur.
‘PVT Chat’ is a film about power dynamics and addiction, and I particularly liked how the dynamics appeared to shift between Jack and Scarlett at different points. Adding another layer of complexity is the nature of Scarlett’s role as a cam girl – when the artifice drops, is she being genuine or is it all part of an act? ‘PVT Chat’ explores and answers this question in intriguing ways. Julia Fox, best known to audiences as Adam Sandler’s mistress in ‘Uncut Gems’, plays the part of Scarlett superbly and it’s credit to her that I could never get a handle on whether her sympathy and feelings towards Peter were real or not. In any case, you can see why he became so infatuated with her. As Jack, Peter Vack really lays himself bare, literally and metaphorically. ‘PVT Chat’ features some of the most graphic (and unsimulated) depictions of masturbation I’ve seen in a movie, and I felt Vack did a great job of playing someone who both garners our sympathy, yet behaves in dangerous and unacceptable ways towards Scarlett.
In its own unique way, I thought ‘PVT Chat’ makes a lot of compelling points about the nature of modern relationships and how the easy access provided to the internet can warp expectations of what a relationship can and should be. I’m still thinking about ‘PVT Chat’ a few days after watching it and that’s always a good sign for any movie. Definitely worth a watch, but make sure there’s no kids or parents around!
Directed By: Ben Hozie
Starring: Julia Fox, Peter Vack, Buddy Duress, Keith Poulson, Kevin Moccia, Nikki Belfiglio, Austin Brown, Atticus Cain, Michelle Chu, Heather Allison and Ally Davis