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BOOGIE NIGHTS

SYNOPSIS:
Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) is a seventeen-year-old busboy at a 1970's nightclub. Spotted by porn filmmaker Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) for his good looks and the generous bulge in his pants, Eddie is lured into the world of making ‘adult’ films. He meets Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), Jack's part-time lover and full time porn queen, along with others in the industry such as actor Buck Swope (Don Cheadle), crew member Little Bill (William Macy), the films' investor known as "The Colonel" (Robert Ridgely) and a woman constantly on roller skates known only as Rollergirl (Heather Graham). With his natural physical "gift," Eddie becomes a big star in the adult film industry and changes his name to Dirk Diggler. Working hard and playing harder, Amber introduces Dirk to the world of cocaine, and he is soon hooked. He starts to hang out with Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly), his adult action film co-star, and his friend Todd Parker (Thomas Jane). Life is good for Dirk until Jack finds a new young actor who may take Dirk's place. Dirk's drug addition exacts a toll and his fame in the porno industry fades. As they enter the more conservative 1980's, Dirk and the others find the industry, and their lives, changing in ways they had never imagined.

"Paul Thomas Anderson has come up with a unique peek at the world of porn, overtly tainted by ego, ambition, greed and lust for power, fame, sex and drugs. Surprisingly non-explicit for the most part, and styled with a matter-of-fact approach, Boogie Nights weaves a fascinating web of complex characters who are swept up in a tale of excess. The casting is immaculate. In a role that is sure to propel him to stardom, former Calvin Klein underwear pin-up Mark Wahlberg is extraordinary as Dirk Diggler, the naïve lad who believes that it is his vocation to use his ‘special gift’ as widely and as often as possible. His endearing innocence is as complex as his obnoxious out-of-control behaviour, never more so than in the scene where he demands that his sex scene be shot at that instant, because HE is ready to perform. Burt Reynolds is outstanding as the world weary, street savvy film director who has seen it all, as he tries to bring pornographic films under a banner of respectability. He is the profane voyeur - always watching, never participating. All the characters are so aptly drawn and played. Little Bill (William H. Macy, moving), ever traumatised as his wife publicly copulates with anyone and everyone; the ebullient, promiscuous Rollergirl (Heather Graham, a knockout) who bares her all (except her skates) without a quibble; Julianne Moore, haunting as the troubled Amber, who wants to find salvation by being a ‘mother’ to the boys. Controversial, raw, shocking, humane and greatly appealing, Boogie Nights is a stunner, a film that immediately brands Anderson as a voice to be reckoned with. No question – love it or hate it, you will have something to say about Boogie Nights, which promises to be one of the most controversial films this year."
Louise Keller

"Films about the movies are always a pleasure, but about the porn industry? Could be tacky, could be smutty, could be exploitative. But if you get down and boogie with this gem of a film, you'll be in for the cinematic journey of the year, a remarkable, intricate, intelligent and astonishing ride that is movie-making at its finest. This is a film that is provocative, gutsy, emotive, passionate and bitingly funny. It is so much more than an examination of a particular industry, it's as much a study of family, loyalty and a society in decay. Mark Wahlberg is a major star here, playing the often confused Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler with immeasurable depth and poignancy, from early naivety to the effects of a crumbling industry ultimately destroyed by a plethora of drugs and a change in social mores. As the father-figure, Burt Reynolds is remarkable, giving a show-stopping performance as the wry Jack Horner, while the always stunning Julianne Moore is heart-wrenching as the porn actress whose star is rising in this most confused of worlds, but who battles her own tragedy as a mother desperately trying to re-claim her son. Boogie Nights is as emotionally rich as it is a sardonic portrait of a bygone era, an era of flairs, disco and when pornography had a certain twisted respectability. But writer/director Anderson, one of the few untapped geniuses of contemporary American filmdom, has not allowed his film a preachy or moralistic tone. This is a film that works so superbly because it is so non-judgemental, and therefore allows us to reach inside the very souls of this group of disparate, tragic characters. From the flawless script to the fluidity of its direction, Boogie Nights is a film that breaks the rules, is remarkably individualistic and is one of the freshest pieces of American cinema to emerge in years."
Paul Fischer

"If you’re wondering how come a movie set in the belly of the 70s porn industry would attract stars of this calibre (Moore, Reynolds, Wahlberg, Macy, et al) all you have to do is read the reviews on this page. This is a real adult film, not one that uses the label euphamistically. It is also a film whose searing honesty is brutal at times, as far as the human condition is concerned, made in – yes, good taste. It is obviously not a film for anyone who might be offended by the mere mention of the subject matter, but the R certificate should help you decide. There is no question that it’s a social document of enormous entertainment value, with much to say about humanity. Julieanne Moore’s performance – even more than Burt Reynolds’ brilliant portrait of Jack Horner – is deeply affecting, filled with a deep, dull ache and a surface gloss. That’s why this film works: all of its characters are people first, pornographers second."
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 4
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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See our DVD REVIEW

See Paul Fischer's exclusive interview in Los Angeles with WILLIAM H. MACY

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BOOGIE NIGHTS (R) 18+
(US)

 

CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, Luis Guzman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Philip Baker Hall, Robert Ridgely

DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson

PRODUCER: Lloyd Levin, Paul Thomas Anderson, John Lyons, Joanne Sellar

SCRIPT: Paul Thomas Anderson

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Elswit

EDITOR: Dylan Tichenor

MUSIC: Michael Penn

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bob Ziembicki

RUNNING TIME: 154 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 12, 1998







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