12/10/10

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?





9 comments:

Andrew Green said...

This sounds like the sort of refreshing experience I've been looking for....
Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Doug said...

I worked on that film (and I'm even in it - in my underwear!), so I'm glad to see it's getting the attention it deserves. I've seen it about 6 times and I'm still piecing together the puzzle.

Pax Romano said...

Doug,

You know, I thought I saw your name in the opening credits...now I'll have to go back and find your underwear scene.

Great job on everyone's part - I really enjoyed this film.

Pax Romano said...

Andrew,

I'd love to read your take on this one.

Gore-Gore Girl said...

This sounds intriguing, though the morality tale element puts me off a bit. I'll still check it out though. It's interesting to watch non-pornographic films take on porn as a subject -- I often find myself questioning how much of the judgment could be leveled at media/pop culture in general (the whole "slabs of meat" thing). Sometimes the hypocrisy is a bit too much (The Fluffer managed to avoid this while still being something of a morality tale, I think). Thanks for reviewing this!

Will Errickson said...

Sounds amazing! Hadn't heard of it, so thanks for the heads-up.

Matt-suzaka said...

I personally would make those strangers do a lot of ass-to-mouth, but that's just me. This film does sound pretty fascinating in a Haneke sort of way. Great review...you certainly have piqued my interest.

Pax Romano said...

GG and Will,

Would love our input on this film should you ever see it (Netflix has it btw).

Also, added both of your blogs (well, in Will's case it's two blogs) to my "Children of the Night" section.

Gore-Gore Girl said...

Yay! You're already one of my Perverts and Procrastinators. ;)