‘Who Cares?’ is a documentary that presents multiple viewpoints of prostitution in Edmonton, highlighting the RCMP’s Project KARE.
All jobs come with hazards, but not many occupations are accompanied by a risk of assault and murder. These are the dangers prostitutes face, but who is there to pick up the pieces if the worst case scenario becomes a reality? Who Cares? documents different points of view of the Edmonton sex trade.
The viewers’ way into this world is Project KARE. Director Rosie Dransfeld follows two homicide detectives that drive up and down the same streets the girls are standing on each night, and ask them to register. They don't judge or harass the women about their jobs. But they do point out that there's a chance they could be murdered and joining KARE's database could one day help identify their bodies. Participating includes providing basic information such as name(s), next of kin, a photo and a hair/DNA sample. Once the information has been collected, they offer the women a pop or bottle of water and move on because there are a lot of other women to document.
Two former prostitutes and those still working who frequent a local bar are also chronicled. Courtney is an ex-addict who struggles to maintain a "normal" life by helping her mother and keeping a distance from old acquaintances. She speaks very frankly about her experiences before getting clean. Shelly, on the other hand, is still somewhat in the life but determined to start over despite her age. She relies on the support of a caring male friend, and explains in a gentle voice the circumstances that influenced her choices. Nancy is a regular at the Reno Pub, but other patrons worry about her because she's young and has an abusive pimp.
This documentary isn’t well constructed, cutting illogically between stories and leaving segments seemingly unfinished. Shelly’s story is troublingly fragmented without any explanation. In these situations, the written epilogues, however brief, at the end of most true stories can be especially useful – even if just to say filmmakers could not find out what happened.
Project KARE feels like an important narrative to share with audiences, but it receives limited attention with larger portions of the film dedicated to the individual stories. It would have been more interesting to take a deeper look at the efforts of the RCMP in the post-Pickton era.