Drama (US); 1997;
Rated R; 152 Minutes
Mark Wahlberg: Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler
Burt Reynolds: Jack Horner
Don Cheadle: Buck Swope
Heather Graham: Rollergirl
Luis Guzmán: Maurice T. Rodriguez
William H. Macy: Little Bill
Julianne Moore: Amber Waves
Nicole Parker: Becky Barnett
Produced by Paul
Thomas Anderson, Michael De Luca, Lawrence Gordon, Lynn
Harris, Lloyd Levin, Daniel Lupi, John Lyons, Michael Phillips
Jr. and Joanne Sellar; Directed and screenwritten by
Paul Thomas Anderson
by DAVID KEYES
Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights is a revealing, raunchy,
and rousing story of the porn industry, so creatively directed
and acted that it is unlike anything we will ever see. It
exists between the line of the party and porn genres, ever
so often jumping back and forth until it ties them in together
with sprawling craftsmanship. What exists is something more
than just a movie; it is, more or less, an incredible experience.
I doubt I will ever forget it.
artistry Anderson represents here is so unbelievably tasteful
that I imagine it’s like performing brain surgery. With
a movie based on the porn industry, you’d expect it to be
trashy, cheap, and pathetically tawdry. But it’s not: instead,
the picture contains a perfection of tastes and camera movements,
to where we aren’t just watching people exposing themselves
completely in front of the camera. We are watching their
lives unfold in front of us, as they tumble downhill just
as their careers and professions do.
film stars Mark Wahlberg as Eddie Adams, who, as the movie
opens, is waiting on tables at a bar. Across the room, he
sees world-known Jack Horner, the man behind porn popularity.
Jack notices him, too, and there’s an instant increase of
friction between them. As Adams exits to the kitchen, Horner
follows him, and once they meet, Jack makes Eddie an offer
he’s not about to refuse. "I have a feeling," Jack says,
"that there’s something incredible in those jeans just waiting
to get out."
Eddie is enflamed with urges to accept the offer, but since
he’s still living at home, what will his mother think? Later
on, after she kicks him out of the house, Eddie accepts
the offer, and is soon deeply involved in Jack’s vision
to create the ultimate porn movie. He sees the audience
going there not just for the sex, but for the story as well.
He sees them becoming absorbed in it; as if it were one
of the best movies they’d ever lay eyes on. His vision is
complete with a backdrop of intriguing characters, such
as the teeny bopper Rollergirl (Heather Graham), and the
psychologically crippled Amber Waves (Julianne Moore).
making of this famous porn film takes place at the peak
of the genre--the late 1970s, which is also the apparent
time when the industry brings out its finest actors. The
men and women who are involved in the porn itself are what
makes Boogie Nights such an appealing film; these
are some really unique characters, each concepted in realistic
ways as the script brings them to us. Most of the people
are real attention-getters, and the one I feel deserves
the full span of our attention is Little Bill, played by
William H. Macy. His wife is the porn star, but he doesn’t
like it--every time he turns his back, she’s in bed with
another man. In this situation, you’d expect a wife to stop
the sex as soon as her husband walks in the door. She looks
on at her husband, tells him to "close the door," and continues
her business. Eventually, Bill gets somewhat tired of this
profession, and takes a bullet to his wife while she’s in
bed with yet another man.
Moore, literally speaking, is an Oscar contender here. Her
role as the surrogate mother of the group is an intensely
disturbing one. I say ‘disturbing’ because, after all, why
would you want to be in porn films when you’re fighting
a custody battle for your child?
has their own, disturbing situations, and all of them make
you feel sorry for the characters in the movie which the
situations relate to. Just as they have problems, they have
special, observant qualities, and it isn’t until the last
seen when we’re exposed to Eddie’s special quality—the reason
why he (should I say Dirk Diggler?) was so popular in the
scene, I’m afraid, you will have to see for yourself to
understand what I’m talking about. I don’t want to give
anything away, but let’s just say that it almost got the
movie an ‘NC-17’ rating.
for yourself...that is, if you can take the heat.
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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