Saturday, November 21, 2009

Capsule Review: Boogie Nights (1997)

A sprawling epic about the porn industry directed by a young filmmaker making only his second feature, Boogie Nights could have easily been a disaster, but Paul Thomas Anderson has an almost supernatural sense of setting and creates an emotional and original masterpiece. Based loosely on the life of John Holmes, we follow the burgeoning career of the impossibly endowed Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) who rises to stardom during the golden age of filmed pornography, welcomed into the family fold of director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and his stable of actors and production people. Filled with memorable set pieces and supporting performances – particularly John C. Reilly as the hilarious Reed Rothchild – it's Anderson who tells the complex story with pizazz, featuring long steadicam shots and scenes filled with improvised dialogue. Brilliant.


J.T. said...

Easily one of the most quotable movies ever.

The movie that intially sold me on Markie Mark's acting chops.

Sadly, his stock has steadily declined since this movie. Max Payne and The Happening are downright awful.

Doug Tilley said...

I can almost quote the initial meeting between Reed Rothchild and Dirk Diggler verbatim. "You know, people tell me I kind of look like Han Solo. "

Mark Wahlberg is a total enigma to me. Sometimes I think he's one of the worst mainstream actors out there, and there are about a dozen performances that would support that, but then I see him in this or The Departed and I think that there has to be some talent there. I think he's just extremely limited, and needs a steady hand to guide his performances.