Written January 06, 2009
With it's criss-crossing story-lines and myriad of complex characters, Paul Thomas Anderson's cunning examination of the underbelly of the porno industry circa late 1970's, BOOGIE NIGHTS stuns with its raw visual virtuosity and terrific ensemble acting. Surprisingly good is Mark Wahlberg in a on point portrayal of a disenfranchised youth, Dirk Diggler who is befriended by self-lauded sleaze Meister Jack Horner ( an incredibly stalwart Burt Reynolds ) who has created a commune of a wayward family of sorts and ignorantly presses on when the adult film industry is waning and thrusting into the new age of straight-to-video. Lots of inspired vignettes of the various degenerated souls to admire here including the luminous Julianne Moore as Amber Waves ( her scene after losing the custody battle for her son to her suspect ex-husband is marvelous ) and Philip Seymour Hoffman in an extraordinary early glimpse of his burgeoning genius as Scotty, the hopeless homosexual who pines away for Dirk!
Written January 29, 2012
Written August 14, 2015
Paul Thomas Anderson has a passion for film that most directors and writers can only dream of. Not that Anderson is better than most directors, but you can tell in his work that he personalizes every shot he's working on. Despite his unique approach to filmmaking, Anderson never warped me into his universe of pornography in his debut motion picture "Boogie Nights." Anderson shows the story of Dirk Dickler, a lost teenager who rises to fame in the porn industry during the 1970s and 1980s. Dickler excels financially and receives stardom through his work, but ends up struggling tremendously with other coming of age crisis'. "Boogie Nights" main accomplishment is demonstrating the various aspects of society that make our world so sexually obsessed. Anderson tries too hard in exploring the society of the 70s and 80s, making you choke on the groovy costumes and music that feel too cliche and not authentic enough. Anderson's directing gets too off-topic, becoming regulatory inconsistent in telling a story and developing an interesting plot, and not giving a visually appealing screen. He overdoes the music way too much by playing loud music in almost every scene that takes away the merit of the story and the characters who hardly interest you. What Anderson tries to do as a storyteller has been done millions of times in all art forms. He tries to explore how one lost person stumbles upon fame and collapses due to his habits and lifestyle. Anderson fuses sex and drugs to spice things up a bit, but those dirty tricks end up making a more unpleasant and harsh film than an entertaining one. With an overdone kinetic camera and a sermon of how various people's dreams get destroyed, Paul Thomas Anderson fails to deliver a film that is impactful and imaginative. Thankfully, he went on to create two masterful works of art later in his career.