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Reviews: Film and Book reviews

Sun 18 Jul, 2010
By Robert Ingham

...a world where reality bleeds into nightmares and nothing can be taken at face value...

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Pornography: A Thriller - Review

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Pornography: A Thriller is a psychological thriller set in the world of adult films. It is a great Chronenberg/David Lynch-esque combo with a whole host of attributes which make this a highly recommended movie.

The story opens in 1995 with famous gay model, Mark Anton, who has decided to leave his porn days behind him and focus on his photography studies. However after being talked in doing “one last gig” for a huge amount of money, and one botched robbery later, he disappears without a trace.

Flash forward to the present day in New York and a journalist, Michael, is moving with his boyfriend into Mark’s old flat. Michael spends his days trying to contact old porn stars to interview them for a book his is writing about pornography, with varying degrees of success. However someone is sending him pictures connected to Mark Anton’s past, causing Michael to delve further and further into a world where reality bleeds into nightmares and nothing can be taken at face value.

At this point, the film really begins to twist. Forward to present day Los Angeles and Mark Stevens, one of a porn studio’s biggest stars, begins to write a thriller, based on the nightmares he’s just woken from. But all is not well and, despite warnings not to go ahead with filming of the script he has completed, the film goes into production, with dire consequences to the physical and mental well-being of those involved.

Pornography: A Thriller is an intelligently written, strongly acted and extremely well directed film, hooking you in with excellent story-telling and originality, blurring the lines between what is and isn’t real.

Unfortunately, this blurring does cause confusion and you really are unsure where the film is heading, especially in the third “act”, where the two previous acts merge with Matt Stevens’ life. There is also a particular subject matter which will not sit comfortably with viewers but this just adds further gravitas to the film. Pornography is, after all, about voyeurism. What is depicted as the ultimate, most degraded form of voyeurism? This form becomes an integral part of the plot but is written without becoming sensationalistic.

This is writer David Kittredge’s directorial debut and it has already won him the Programming Award for Outstanding Emerging Talent at the FilmOut San Diego Festival this year. He directs with panache and it is difficult to believe this is his first time behind the camera. He has a keen eye for detail and it is his skills which help drive the success of the film.

All in all, this is a very assured piece of film-making with qualities that makes Pornography worth viewing time and time again, if not just to fit all the pieces together but to also pick up on aspects you may have missed previously.

One thing's for sure – you will never trust CCTV again. Or any pin holes in your ceiling.

Pornography: A Thriller is released by Peccadillo Pictures on DVD on 29th August and at selected theatres throughout August.


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