Pornography: A Thriller
Director David Kittredge's Pornography: A Thriller is a film that takes the viewer down a dark, disturbing road and then tosses him into a rabbit-hole where he finds an even darker version of Wonderland than Lewis Carroll (or David Lynch) might have ever imagined.
What starts as a cautionary tale about a former gay porn star named Mark Anton (Jared Grey), who, back in the 1990's agreed to do a private film for a secretive client, and then vanished; becomes a mystery when a present day author named Michael (Matthew Montgomery), who is researching a book on adult film stars of the past, becomes obsessed with Anton's case. This premise alone would make for a fascinating story - but wait, there's more - Just when you think you know what is going on, Kittredge pulls the rug out from under and delivers a third act that knocks the ball right out of the park, introducing the possibility that everything we have seen up to this point, has been nothing more than a dream...oh, and did I mention the hulking-monster-of-a-guy in the Leatherface mask brandishing a hypodermic needle?
Not a film to be viewed casually, Pornography: A Thriller demands a lot from its audience. Owing much to such movies like, Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire, Vanilla Sky, and Eyes Wide Shut, this is a homo-erotic, psychotronic experience full of red herrings and twisted logic. It's all very beguiling and terribly fascinating.
One can not help but consider that the filmmakers may have actually been saying something about porn (gay or straight) in general; the way millions watch " dirty movies" yet never admit to it; the way the performers are often viewed as nothing more than interchangeable slabs of meat; the way the video revolution of the mid eighties changed the game completely - no more were naked bodies watched in a communal setting, VHS changed all of that allowing the viewer to be alone with his or her object of fascination so that he or she could observe and obsess over and over.
Ultimately, Pornography: A Thriller , with it's obtuse denouement, may leave the viewer questioning what they have just seen. A second viewing is definitely recommended. However, don't do this thinking that you will have it all figured out, because you won't. What you might come away with is a better understanding of what drives any of us to sit alone in the dark and watch strangers copulate - and then imagine if you could direct those strangers to do other things, maybe, unthinkable things. Imagine what kind of monster you might turn out to be if you had that kind of power.
Scary, thought, ain't it?