In 2009, director Sebastian Gutierrez debuted a film called Women in Trouble at SXSW Film Festival. That film featured several women whose story-lines converged throughout the film, and it became a cult classic of sorts. Elektra Luxx is the sequel to that film, and features several returning cast members.
Carla Gugino plays the title character, who is newly retired from the porn industry. She’s also pregnant, and the baby daddy is recently deceased. What’s a single sex siren to do? Elektra shows some ingenuity and starts teaching some sex classes at the local community college for income. She struggles with insecurity about her pregnancy and the end of her career.
Things become further complicated when Elektra is visited by Cora (Marley Shelton), who has an unexpected and troubling connection to her deceased ex-boyfriend. Cora asks Elektra to seduce her fiance. In exchange, Cora will give Elektra a set of song lyrics that Elektra’s musician boyfriend wrote about Elektra. A madcap series of events ensues when Elektra seduces the wrong person.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a sex blogger who has taken Elektra’s retirement very, very hard. He records a documentary style history of Elektra’s career in his mother’s basement.
There is also a storyline about two porn actresses (and friends) who are on a vacation in Mexico together. Holly Rocket (Adrianne Palicki) decides this is the perfect opportunity to tell her friend Bambi (Emmanuelle Chriqui) that she is in love with her.
The film bounces back and forth between these storylines, and it never feels like a cohesive narrative. I can appreciate that Gutierrez threw in a few random vignettes, but that is exactly what the whole film feels like-a series of shorts or vignettes shown in random order. Julianne Moore appears as the Virgin Mary in one scene that left me scratching my head.
The film has a distinctly retro feel to it, and Gutierezz employs dream sequences, flashbacks, and black and white scenes to tell the story. This results in a film that feels disjointed at best. I am curious if viewing Women in Trouble would have altered my perception of the film.
Elektra Luxx has a really amazing cast, particularly for a low-budget film. Gugino is wonderful and lovely, as usual. Gordon-Levitt is a treat as the blogger. Timothy Olyphont, Malin Ackerman, Julianne Moore, Justin Kirk, and Kathleen Quinlan all appear in the film as well.
The talented cast elevates the material; it would be easy to write off the film if not for the actors. Though I didn’t love the film, I would marginally recommend it for its innovative approach to story telling.