The differing characters whose lives crash head-on are Holly, a high-priced pro on the verge of retirement, and Shay, a 17-year-old street amateur desperate for cash. They’re played, respectively, by Viva Bianca (TV's "Spartacus: Blood and Sand") and Hanna Mangan Lawrence ("The Square").

Holly gets hundreds of dollars to do her thing with only the wealthiest of clients, and has plans soon to leave her life behind for Paris. In stark contrast, Shay, literally fresh off the bus, works for $50 a (literal) pop, negotiable, and hasn’t a clue what she’s doing. As luck (at the time) should have it, they happen to meet when they could use one another most: for a threesome at the Hyatt with a guy who’s wired on coke.

While the ladies are there, the guy is executed by a sudden visitor — a bad cop — and they’re the only witnesses to the murder. Naturally, this puts them in his targets, and this cop is nothing if not driven. The movie essentially has put Holly and Shay on notice, and puts them through the ringer. Only when Shay is swooned over by a cab driver who moonlights as a magician does the story hit a drag.

Refreshingly adult without being, y'know, adult adult, the Australian crime film is well-directed by Jon Hewitt, who makes the most of a chilly ambient score and the glow of gorgeous cityscapes at night. “X” is all about casting a mood and using it as a central character. But the movie belongs to Bianca, as brave as she is beautiful, as sexy as she is steadfast.

For those who are into that sort of thing — and for those who avoid it — note that the film includes more-than-fleeting views of full-frontal nudity for both genders. —Rod Lott


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