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Compulsion (DVD Review)

9 Oct, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Prebook 10/12/10; Street 11/9/10
$24.98 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Ray Winstone, Parminder Nagra.

Love and obsession in the movies typically enjoy a blurred relationship, with true love often not much more than an afterthought.

In the excellent 2008 British made-for-TV movie Compulsion, 50-something Special Forces vet Don Flowers (Ray Winstone) spends his days (and nights) chauffeuring a wealthy Indian family around London in a stretch Rolls. Tribe members include a self-absorbed, coke-sniffing son and recent Cambridge grad/daughter Anjika (Parminder Nagra, in a far cry from Bend It Like Beckham).

Facing the prospect of an unwanted arranged marriage to the son of a business associate of her father, Anjika is desperate to end the pact so she can be with her English boyfriend, Alex (Ben Aldridge). Flowers, of course, offers a non-violent solution to the mess that involves Anjika sleeping with him — underscoring an obsession with her that borders on creepy — or does it?

Despite shades of Indecent Proposal, Anjika agrees to a tryst with the heavyset Flowers to save her independence. Of course, no one told her an older man might possess a road map to her libido — a quest typically lost upon Alex’s youthful ignorance.

And so it is that Flowers, perhaps implausibly, unleashes Anjika’s inner sexual mojo with undesired results. “You are a prisoner of your passion,” he tells her.

Compulsion works in large part due to a storyline set against the visual appeal of Indian culture, and the casting of Winstone and Nagra.

The actress — reportedly subject to an arranged marriage proposal at the age of 18 — is quite convincing as an indifferent boor who, in short time, recognizes that there is so much more to sex than sex.

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