Boogie Nights Reviews
Mark Wahlberg is sensational; incredibly focused, vivid in his portrayal, consistent to the attitudes of the story, but always entertaining. He gives the fight with his mom a comical twist that could hardly be given any direction beyond what the performance must intuitively know in order to get that idea across; he's determinedly present. In the faux coke-dealing scene at Rahad's (Alfred Molina), there's this hopeless gaze that comes over his face as he realizes the impasse of his circumstance, which we all feel as an audience; the situation is absurd, and the odds of escape don't look good. Look at his eyes, they numb over, each moving off in different directions - I'd imagine that could only happen to a person caught in such a situation in real life, but to act this seems impossible. He also develops a strong independent activity in the form of a few karate moves that thread him through key points of the picture, including a hilarious award ceremony, and a brilliant homage to Raging Bull's ending in front of the mirror. Watching Eddie develop as Dirk Diggler, one gets the sense that as we are all truly born to do something in life, most definitely Eddie is a pornographic godsend.
I love that this giant 13" protrusion in Dirk's pants is left to the imagination until the very end of the picture. My compliments to the whole third act finale, which neatly tied up everyone's story in a way that so many films frustratingly leave unresolved. It's really perfect, and a nice little comeback from some pretty awful circumstances. It makes the film less judgmental, that we could get behind these characters and actually see them end up okay, a nice little family.
Anderson's staging is amongst the best in the history of the craft, with long camera moves, but no wasted space between tracking/dolly moves, quickly picking up the action of the next set of characters, getting into their vibe, their story, and getting a sense of how interconnected everybody is.
What an amazing cast all around. Don Cheadle as Buck Swope achieves a total presence through the relation of his various appearances, the 80s New Years party Rick James look being my favorite. This is when everything is budding for changes, including Buck and the girl who will eventually be by his side - they are losing interest in this business and want to do something more legitimate. A new mustached character is introduced, one who will lead Dirk and Reed down a dark, godforsaken path. And then there's the culmination of Little Bill's (William H Macy) crisis with his cuckolding wife, which perfectly transitions us into the next phase of the film.
This film, however, studies the porn industry as a kind of single collective character. It's shallow, vain, na├├,┬»ve, and relatively unintelligent, but we see that these are human beings with aspirations and goals in life, people that are capable of love.