Like the film and its title, writer/director Paul Thomas
Anderson's name is both cool and a mouthful. The late 1970s and early
80s didn't seem so remote in 1997, yet the film's indulgent nostalgia is
as fresh and decadent as ever. Among the big names are Mark Wahlberg,
who plays Eddie Adams, a clean-cut middle-class boy who goes to make it
big because he is exceptionally big. Burt Reynolds is the suave but
obtusely asexual porn producer/director, married to the female talent
(Julianne Moore is good in everything); Heather Graham and Philip
Seymour Hoffman also swan around.
This small coterie of debauchees (though they do not see
themselves thus) are at the height of their powers during the famous
opening scene of the film, in a funked-up discotheque. Film is king and
they're in charge. Boogie Nights charts the sad but inevitable
decline of those who would pretend porn is art, as legitimate as cinema,
brought about by the rise of cheaper, more abundant video.
But what a glamorous, colourful, sonorous way to go out!
Boogie Nights, among many things, is a loud, sensuous ode to
freer times. Full of petty crime, tense scenes and genuine emotion,
Anderson's lens is trained on the exploitative nature of the industry. A
big dick is sexy and prized as such; but is is more prized as a
mechanism to boost profits: this point is crushingly made.
The cast is faultless; the soundtrack is divine;
everything looks and feels just right. I had a sweet, sweet time
watching. The quality of the picture is great but the sound was
disappointingly only Dolby 5.1, rather than the high-def option Blu-Ray
is capable of. The bonus material is a knock-out, including full-length
commentary by Anderson; another full-length commentary track by eight of
the actors; extra scenes; a music video; the John C Riley files; and the
trailer. This one is a keeper and highly recommended.
Have a whale of a