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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Stratosphere Girl
Stratosphere Girl
TLA Releasing // R // April 19, 2005
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Matt Langdon | posted May 10, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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Movie:
In Stratosphere Girl an attractive Belgian teen blond name Angela goes to Tokyo on a whim in search of a guy she has just met. While there she takes a job as a hostess catering to rich Japanese businessmen and runs into trouble; notably the egos of the other young women, potentially dangerous businessmen and an overall alienated feeling in a foreign city and culture.

Angela (Chloé Winkel) moves in with a bunch of young European women who are also hostesses most of whom are nasty to her and give her little respect. Once Angela takes a job in the bar tension begins to mount.

Angela is a bit vacant [or maybe it's just the actress] and naïve but she is very cute and gets a lot of attention from the Lolita-searching men. However, Angela is no dummy. She is a very talented illustrator and she has quite an active imagination, which she uses for her storyboards.

When Angela learns that there is a missing – and presumably dead – hostess she begins to ask questions. She gets just enough information to begin storyboarding a scenario that involves all the girls and one particularly nefarious businessman (Filip Peeters).

Is Angela's intuition right? Will she solve the mystery of the missing girl? Or will her snooping around make her the next victim?

Stratosphere Girl, directed by M.X. Oberg, is intriguing and unique but it drags a bit. The pacing is similar to Lost in Translation, which seems an influence of sorts – albeit with no humor. But it doesn't have compelling enough acting to make it truly engaging. Actress Chloé is certainly attractive but it's sort of distracting to the story. Enough so that the story may take a back seat to most male viewers who will simply wait for her to take her clothes off. She does toward the end – but it feels thrown in rather than organic to the story.

Video:
The DVD is presented in an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The image quality is excellent. Most of the scenes are interior or shot at night and have a glossy look that capture Tokyo's neon darkness very well. The colors are well saturated.

Audio:
Audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film is in English with some Japanese.

Extras:
There is a director's statement and short production notes. There are also trailers for other TLA Releasing.

Overall:
Stratosphere Girl is a moody mystery about a young European woman who goes to Japan on a whim, becomes a host and is suddenly confronted with a potential crime that she feels she must solve. The film is unique in that the main character is an illustrator and she does storyboards as a way to solve the crime - but it is also a bit lethargic and flat. The DVD looks and sounds excellent and the story is intriguing enough that it is recommended.

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