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Claire Dolan (1998)

 Vincent D'Onofrio, Colm Meaney  Katrin Cartlidge  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors:  Vincent D'Onofrio, Colm Meaney  Katrin Cartlidge
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker
  • DVD Release Date: February 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BVM1UA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,860 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Claire Dolan" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio introduction by Kent Jones (Associate Director of Programming, Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Scene Selections
  • Booklet containing interview with actress Katrin Cartlidge and an essay by VILLAGE VOICE film critic Michael Atkinson

Editorial Reviews

A bittersweet film about an Irish immigrant working as a mid-level prostitute in Manhattan, Claire Dolan tells a darkly intriguing story that is less about sex than trying to attain love. Dolan--portrayed with subtle melancholy by Katrin Cartlidge (who died in 2002 from complications of pneumonia and blood poisoning)--is too pragmatic to think she could ever fall in love with one of her clients. They are merely business transactions. What she wants is to have the unconditional love of having her own baby. When she meets a quiet cabbie (Vincent D'Onofrio), it's apparent that despite what they say to each other, their troubled relationship is based on desperation, not love. Director Lodge Kerrigan offers sparing insight into Dolan's past, just enough to make you concerned about her uncertain future. He doesn't try to make the characters understand whether they can accept each other, and he vehemently refuses to reassure his audience that everything will be all right. For moviegoers who have been conditioned by happy Hollywood endings, this can be a little unsettling. But that uncertainty--as in real life--is part of the beauty of this understated drama. --Jae-Ha Kim

Product Description

Electrifying indie auteur Lodge Kerrigan, following up his cult ordeal Clean, Shaven, explores the desolate existence and paranoid perspective of a woman lost in a tangle of high-end prostitution and urban anxiety. Claire Dolan (Katrin Cartlidge, Naked, Breaking the Waves), an Irish immigrant in Manhattan, pays off her debt to a formidable gangster/pimp (Colm Meaney, The Snapper, Layer Cake) by submitting herself, as a call girl, to the whims of anonymous businessmen. Craving an ordinary existence and living in cold dread of losing her sense of self, Claire attempts to bond with a quietly troubled cab driver (Vincent D'Onofrio, Full Metal Jacket, Ed Wood) and remake her life. Both a dramatic exploration of exploitation and a psychological portrait of modern womanhood adrift in a world of violation and rootlessness, and filmed by Kerrigan with a poet's awareness of detail, Claire Dolan stands as one of the 1990s' most significant and affecting works of cinema.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sexuality without love or tenderness August 19, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
For those of you who have seen this and are looking for a message, I can say that the brutal facts of life, that is to say, an animal existence, will out. Whether we are talking about sexual desire and sexual release, or about reproduction--especially that--it is the fundamental animal drives that control our lives and dictate our actions.

This movie offers nothing beyond that, and it shouldn't. It is perfect as it is. There is no phony sentimentality to entice us to delusion, or any sort of Hollywood ending. There is no redemption here. There is no spirituality. There is only desire and fulfillment; desire and frustration; desire and the end of desire which comes with... The movie doesn't say.

I don't know if this makes my top ten of the nineties--I have seen a lot of movies--but it makes my most memorable. I will not forget this stark performance by Katrin Cartlidge, who plays Claire Dolan. She does not have the charisma of a great actress, and the range of what is required here is limited, but within that range she is stunning. A good part of the credit surely goes to director Lodge Kerrigan, who emphasizes the tight, washed out lines of desperation on her face, along with her intense sexual desire and the stark, rapacious environment of the urban jungle in which she plies her trade. This is a movie that might well be viewed following Pretty Woman (1990). I wonder how many people who allowed themselves to identify with Julia Roberts as a whore, would like to identify with the high class prostitute of this film. Could they even watch it?

I was mesmerized by the sharp cuts and the film verité editing, the effective use of line and shadow, sound and silence, the clean, focused camera work.
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and Erotic December 9, 2003
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
To my surprise, upon viewing this movie, I discovered that it is a love story...albeit dark, depressing love story with little if any light at the end of the tunnel. Claire Dolan (the late Katrin Cartlidge) is a high priced prostitute working to pay off her pimp. She tries to escape from New York to a town in New Jersey to live a legitimate life as a hairstylist. Believing she's being followed one night, she hits on Elton (Vincent D'Onofrio) in a bar in order to obtain protection. However, as she slow dances with him, she becomes less fixated on watching for enemies and surrenders to the romantic moment.
Eventually she's sucked back into life as a prostitute but Elton sticks with her. Their sexual relationship starts out rather stiff and impersonal but gradually becomes more passionate as she comes to trust him, and he becomes increasingly obsessed with her and with trying to understand her sordid life. Meanwhile Claire's evil pimp (the fine Irish actor Colm Meaney, the only upbeat character in this film) isn't happy about her love affair and does what he can to interfere by playing Claire and Elton against one another.
Most of the sex in this film is cold, but there are two tender, passionate love scenes between the Claire and Elton which caused me to root for them as a couple. On the other hand, be warned that there is a scene between them toward the end which is a bit hairy. This film is definitely not for kids under 17.
"Claire Dolan" isn't a great movie as it is overly artsy, complete with perpetually frowning actors and monosyllabic dialogue. I found it rather hard to believe that businessmen would pay hundreds of dollars to sleep with Claire, who is so grim, pale and waifish that she seems better suited to a gothic film than an erotic drama.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sexual but not sexy January 17, 2007
We open on images of urban architecture. Skyscrapers, high-rise apartments, covered in opaque glass and shot at angles that serve less to show us what lies inside these buildings than to reflect the world without.

This world is an ominous place and few people are made more aware of it than the titular Claire Dolan.

A Manhattan prostitute who caters to sorry, white-collar johns, Claire has a moment of clarity when her elderly mother dies under mysterious, unresolved circumstances. For Claire, intimacy has always been a carefully-constructed illusion she creates for her clients. "You're not like other men," she's fond of saying. "You're beautiful," they're found of replying. Neither is entirely true (no disrespect to deceased actress Katrin Cartlidge, who some will remember from noteworthy performances in Breaking the Waves or Naked).

When relationships are measured in dollars and every human exchange comes with cost, it's no surprise when Claire only has a passerby on the street to confide "I just buried my mother." The stranger offers little comfort. Claire attempts to restart her life across the Hudson River but ultimately fails to outrun her past - they have a way of catching up to people and hers comes in the form of her pimp (Colm Meaney, overjoyed to be playing something other than an Irish gangster). Along the way, she meets and ultimately falls in love with sensitive taxi driver, Elton (Vincent D'Onofrio, in what future generations will term his "svelte period"), playing wink-wink with a film archetype made famous by Scorsese and De Niro. Claire later seeks emotional consolation via the bearing of a child - it's unclear if this is a repudiation of her former lifestyle or the ultimate indulgence in it. We're left to judge this for ourselves.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars My order
was edited this is fine for a child was very dissatisfied won't be doing business with you in the future
Published 4 months ago by Benjamin J. Bell
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Much Goin' For This One
The reviews on this film are very generous, in my opinion. If this is what passes for art these days, cinema in general is in trouble. In the U.S., it's practically dead anyway. Read more
Published on March 23, 2011 by M. Jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Vinny D'Onofrio nails it (and also Claire Dolan)
Vinny D'Onofrio fans: watch this film. You know he acts in this film in his own intense way, and how we love his style..... Read more
Published on October 20, 2009 by Diane
4.0 out of 5 stars Vincent D Onofrio
I did enjoy this movie Vincent D Onofrio was excellent as well as the actress, i knew it would not have a happy ending but i really wish they could stayed together! Read more
Published on July 11, 2009 by Sara Byrd
3.0 out of 5 stars soul-searching film..
quick review: single in New York, struggling to pay a debt, Claire is forced into escorting to pay off her debt. Along the way she falls for a cabbie driver. Read more
Published on June 7, 2009 by James C. Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars A STARK LOOK AT AT HUMANANITY
The tag for this movie could easily be - people suck so don't bother trying to form a relationship with anyone. The director portrayed a dark and stark look at human relationships. Read more
Published on July 21, 2008 by Margaux Paschke
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like artistic films, then this is a good film
You would think that from some of the reviews of this film, that it is one of the great movies of all time - a classic. And I can see how some people could see that. Read more
Published on July 5, 2008 by bandazar
5.0 out of 5 stars Lodge Kerrigan's perspective on INVICTUS
CLAIRE DOLAN is an exquisitely rendered exploration of anomie in modern American culture. Claire Dolan is a prostitute in debt to a pitiless pimp/businessman, Roland Cain. Read more
Published on June 19, 2006 by MediaMaven
2.0 out of 5 stars VIncent D'Onofrio saved this movie from getting 1 star
I found Claire Dolan to be a bleak, sad and depressing portrayal of a woman trying to earn money to may off a debt by selling herself to wealthy business men. Read more
Published on February 23, 2006 by SnowBelted
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised other reviewers didn't like this better
For some incomprehensible reason, this came out in France several years ago so I bought it from Read more
Published on December 24, 2005 by socrates17
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