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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.43%
Worth A Look42.86%
Average: 20%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 25.71%

2 reviews, 23 user ratings

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Raw Deal: A Question of Consent
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by Chris Parry

"As brutal as it gets, there's a whole lot missing."
3 stars

Documentaries are a tough sell. A documentary that's well researched and sports an interesting topic can get over the line, but for a real "film" fan, they need to be more than just a one hour Sixty Minutes piece. A good documentary needs balanced reporting of the facts, but also needs to display them in a way that makes an audience feel that they're not just watching TV on a really big screen.

Last year, One Day In September scored a massive victory on the research end with it's outlining of the events surrounding the Munich Olympic Games, but registered a massive flop in terms of narrative and sustaining an audience up until the last half hour. Ditto the Filth And The Fury scored big points on directing style and subject matter, but tended to be light on facts. Raw Deal, a documentary centered around a mid 90's Florida frat-house rape, has the beginnings of something big - compelling raw footage and a subject matter that divides everyone - but fails to really get into the minds of the participants.

When Lisa Gier King agreed to hold a sex show with a friend of hers at a frat-house party, she was just doing a job. When her friend left and King stayed, getting naked with the frat-boys in a Jacuzzi, dishing out the oral sex and hand jobs like entrees, and drinking until the early hours of the next morning, King found herself in a situation she claimed later amounted to rape. The Florida police didn't agree. They arrested King on charges of filing a false police report.

There's two sides to every story, but more so this one. Let's be brutally honest, a woman who deals out oral sex to strangers (yes, that's a plural) is going to have a hard time proving she wasn't acting consensually. Especially when there's video footage (from two cameras!) showing her doing so. But the twist in the tail comes later on, when a clearly messed up King is held down and forced to have sex. The frat-boys claim she never said "no", and they're right. But she made it clear enough for the audience to know that she wasn't into the idea. Who's right? Who's wrong? Ultimately, both sides are guilty of stupidity and that's evident early on - so where can an audience go from there?

And that's where this film falls apart. The title of the production itself makes a judgment on the merits of both sides of the story, but the filmmaker never actually puts the participants on the spot. They both give their side of the story, but in a situation where both sides are clearly guilty of doing stupid, even reprehensible things, none are ever asked to really justify themselves, none are confronted with evidence that contradicts their stories and the filmmaker himself makes fundamental errors of judgment.

One of these is when the filmmaker takes the Police to task for not interviewing the suspects individually, but in a group, where they can corroborate each other's stories and rely on each other for support - but then the filmmaker himself interviews most of the suspects in the exact same way. Likewise, he shows how the rules surrounding the free distribution of court material allowed a woman to become an unwitting porn star, but while he's saying this he's showing the footage himself.

Ultimately, this film lives or dies on the back of that very footage. Brutal and disgusting, with nothing blurred and no holds barred, it's pretty rank stuff. But it's not enough to call this a great documentary, especially as the footage is displayed in a piece by piece, teasing way that only serves to annoy as your watch ticks over and the inevitable climax sits just over the horizon.

Raw Deal is certainly an interesting breakdown of the events at hand and certainly better than a large number of documentaries at this festival, but in must-see terms, it just doesn't have the importance or insight into the minds of the perpetrators that it needed to become a staple of the ages. We leave the cinema thinking "what morons" instead of having our minds opened - and that amounts to a fail.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 02/03/01 03:15:09
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User Comments

5/08/06 Sarah no rape, she sobered up realised she was a whore, no excuse for his actions prior though 1 stars
2/05/04 heather i dont know if people that say it was rape are stupid? she was a slut and there was no rape 4 stars
1/26/04 sarah she was not raped she loved it 1 stars
1/12/04 Bust some teeth Give me 10 minutes alone with Yahraus and i'll show him what its like to be fucked (UP)! 4 stars
4/15/03 Jose Ortega She was raped twice, once at the fraternity and once by this documentary 1 stars
3/04/03 James Workman It sucks because everyone trys to bash frats 1 stars
10/19/02 Rolando Chigas Explotation! 1 stars
8/10/02 Natalie May scary shit- those guys sooo raped her and she deserves justice! 5 stars
3/08/02 buzzardman1972 forget king, holly is incrediable, whata rack!! does anyone know where disa holly is? 5 stars
2/03/02 deks crap 1 stars
2/01/02 h ands onalot is it for sale uncut 5 stars
1/31/02 Eve Grossed out. Alcohol, nakedness and strangers don't mix well. I think it was rape. 4 stars
1/30/02 Ed It is clear that King is wanting it to stop, and Yarhaus is intimidating her, v. disturbing 4 stars
1/30/02 ken thomson a very disturbing film and one which shows the pitfalls in the justice system of america 1 stars
1/30/02 Tony Blair Fukking awesome 5 stars
1/30/02 mooco should be shown (with a qualified adult on hand to lead discussion) to all teenagers 4 stars
1/30/02 Angela Zo Thought provoking film... I didn't think that she wanted all the sex, but it wasn't rape. 4 stars
1/30/02 Ali a very disturbing film... 4 stars
1/30/02 Mark Powell Good film bad female acting... shes enjoying it too much to be rape 3 stars
1/30/02 Carl Moll poor, no direction most of all unconvincing 1 stars
1/30/02 Karin Martos I thought this movie was very well done. 4 stars
8/21/01 gerard cassidy this so call director isnt a documentarian, it is a gross film and should be deleted! shit 1 stars
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Directed by
  Billy Corben

Written by

  Lisa Gier King
  Michael Yahraus
  Rod Smith

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