Boogie Nights

14  MAR
Everyone has one special thing

Directed by  Paul Thomas Anderson
Written by  Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring:  Burt Reynolds (Jack Horner)
Mark Wahlberg (Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler)
Julianne Moore (Amber Waves)
John C. Reilly (Reed Rothchild)
Heather Graham (Rollergirl)
Runtime: 152 minutes
Eddie Adams, a young man working in a night club, is discovered by porn director Jack Horner, who soon puts Eddie, renamed Dirk Diggler, and his "talent" on the top of the porn industry. But when the 80s arrive, Dirk and his colleagues in the porn industry have to cope with a new era, as well as the baggage they bring with them from the 70s. - Mike Myers

Boogie Nights is a peculiar movie about the industry of porn movies of late '70s and early '80s. However, this is not a porn movie itself, there is some verbal vulgarity but next to nothing visually offending... or maybe we are just used to see more explicit sex scenes in everyday movies and so the fairly 'censored' situations portrayed here looks simply silly!

The story is about a director of porn movies, Jack Horner, who takes his profession very seriously and even attempts to 'ennoble' the genre by trying to put a sensible story in his productions. The other main character is a guy, Eddie Adams, who starts his career as a porn actor thanks to his oversized male attributes... At the beginning everything goes fine, the atmosphere looks rich and full of weird but still 'positive' characters; however after the initial successes, Eddie starts becoming drug addicted and things quickly degenerate. The end is quite surprising since Eddie manages to come out of this dreadful situation but he still shows that, after all, he hasn't learnt much from his experiences.

There are various other characters whose personality and individual story are analysed but most of them are treated in a mono-dimensional way which is easy to understand given the limited run-time and the many characters but which is also impossible to tolerate. Moreover, some other minor characters simply disappears (eg. Eddie's parents) or some story lines remain undeveloped as if parts of the story have been left out during the final editing. The scenes with heavy use of drugs and violence are not always well balanced, they are sometimes boring and annoying, sometimes too silly to be believable, sometimes just useless.

The actors are very good and always keep up the level of the movie, both Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg suit their roles admirably. The setting is perfectly suited for a movie set in the '70s as are the songs and the dressing. I cannot judge how much historical care is given to the description of the porn industry of that times but it surely looks credible under any point of view.

The story is original, the characters are curious, the analysis of the porn industry is an interesting novelty but the result is somewhat deluding. At first, this seems to be that sort of movies that leave some strong feeling and that can be better estimated with the passing of time... unfortunately, this is not actually the case, Boogie Nights didn't leave much to me, probably the director managed to make it light enough to obtain a good audience and critic success (at least in the USA) but I consider it a bit too weak and trivial given the subject it deals with.

Rating: 6.5  **

Links:  Official Site




© Copyright Sergio Monesi, 1997-1999.
Last updated: 25 Jun 1999