Use Me: Now streaming (Review)

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What started out as an ordinary documentary uncovering a niche world of humiliatrix fantasy became a new format of storytelling for the modern age of a social media and influencer geared culture. While many have harshly criticised the predictability of the plot, those that appreciate understand the vision of this hybrid genre that meshes reality and fiction.

The most exciting part of this Docudrama was guessing where those lines of reality and fiction were drawn because the characters are based on the lead stars themselves – Julian Shaw, the filmmaker and Ceara Lynch, the humiliatrix.

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“We’ve told people from the beginning that it is a fictionalised movie. People still want to believe it’s a documentary, no matter how much you tell [them] what this is” said Writer, Director and leading man, Julian Shaw. “People will project what they want to see. That’s kind of fun”.

The story revolves around Ceara Lynch who is a humiliatrix in real life. It’s a subcategory of the dominatrix profession which involves satisfaction men get from being exploited and humiliated. “I’ve sold used panties, shoes, socks” says Ceara Lynch, “I sold my popp for $4000” and the service she provides is all virtual with no physical meeting in real life.

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The opening sequences demonstrate a lucrative area that the online entrepreneur has successfully carved out for herself. ”Her whole work was on the line of fantasy and reality” said Shaw, “By day 3 I knew it wasn’t going to be a documentary, it was kind of a blend right from the beginning at that’s how it was conceived”

“I always kept an open minded from the beginning but also very cautious because working in the adult industry, we’re weary of outsiders and how we’re depicted” adds Lynch. “…maybe as victims or maybe in my case I’m a psychopath.”

Julian praises Producer, Jonathan Green’s creative and logistical input into the film. While there was a script written, much of the dialogue was ad-libbed, providing some framework for both leads to manifest each scene. “When I make my fetish videos, I ad-lib and everything I say is just coming off the top of my head. And I have 2000 videos like that and that’s how I learned how to behave in front of the camera” explains Lynch.

As a viewer, the thrilling part of experiencing this film is trying to ascertain where the line of reality begins and where the fiction ends. Particularly when many players in the fetish scene make cameo appearances and footage from the annual Las Vegas sex expo is integrated into the story. “These characters are kind of ourselves, or like the dark sides of ourselves” explains Shaw. “Even these fictionalised versions of ourselves come from some place of truth and I’ve just greatly blown it up for dramatic effect”

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Ceara Lynch describes her overall experience and work produced proudly as the area of fetishism is rarely covered in the mainstream. “The stuff that does come out I think really does get picked apart and …too nitpicky”. Any pre-conceptions about this area of the adult entertainment industry are demystified in some of the simplest scenes. We see Ceara going through emails, switching on her character to deliver content to her clients and there’s a level of professionalism and business ethic we see you wouldn’t ordinarily align to the two dimensional archetypes served in the mainstream.

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Viewers are taken on a rollercoaster of mystery against a backdrop of fetishism which turns into a journey of self discovery for its protagonist. In a culture where an estimated 93 million selfiesare taken everyday, the delivery method of this story that merges real with fiction opens up a new way of thinking when it comes to social media, entertainment and celebrity. While some critics have said the film should have just stuck to the originally intended format, Julian Shaw has stumbled upon new ground which opens up possibilities for people working the aforementioned spaces and how they conceptualise content for their audiences.

Use me is now streaming on Apple TV, Google TV, Fetch TV and YouTube.

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