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Boogie Nights

Review Written by: Chris Burns
Film: A+
What the MPAA Rating should be: R (for language, nudity, sexual content and some violence)

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Written by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Produced by: Paul Thomas Anderson, Lloyd Levin, John S. Lyons and Joanne Sellar
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, John C. Reily, Heather Graham, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Studio: New Line Cinema

Boogie Nights charts the story of infamous porn star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg), a young man striving to become something in the wide world. He is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he has a talent on one side of the life spectre and quickly becomes a media icon. Boogie Nights shows the rise and fall of Dirk Diggler and the close-knitted friends he works with. Generally speaking, the film is based around the real facts, capturing the needed essence and realism of the porn world. The core of Boogie Nights is that it is a reflective character study that entertains, amuses, shocks, thrills and educates the viewer.

Boogie Nights is a film where you become part of a journey, this journey is one that shows you just how exploitive and derogatory the porn industry is. Think Goodfellas, but instead of gangsters you have pornographers. You can tell Paul Thomas Anderson has been influenced by Martin Scorsese's '90s cinema because there is an edge of Scorsese-flair direction hanging over Boogie Nights. At first look I thought Boogie Nights would just be a highly entertaining study telling the story of the porn industry, however Boogie Nights holds a message and rather than just being a film, it becomes a deeply insightful study.

Boogie Nights pulls the viewer inside a world fuelled by casual sex and drug abuse. At heart, Boogie Nights is extremely anti-certain elements of the porn industry. Boogie Nights slowly changes from being a highly enjoyable drama to becoming a demeaning study of wasted life and a lesson in social history. The film depicts everything, it does not hesitate to show the truth and reveal to the viewer the fascinating warped lifestyle that some people live.

Everything is so fast, a plunge into a new lifestyle, a new culture, a new group of people, who at heart are a new family and the people who represent the confidence that Dirk Diggler never had from his parents. You are supposed to pity Dirk Diggler because he never had the love and care that he needed. There was not enough hope for Dirk Diggler before his success in the overpowering porn industry. But porn was his freedom and his route away from his mundane life. Yet, does it make him a better person? The answer is a simple, no, because he soon becomes a nasty person, controlled by his self-indulgence and loss of respect. You see, Boogie Nights is not about sex, it is not meant to turn us on because what it is about is a business that has shattered many people's lives.

Boogie Nights is not a sleazy film, nor is it not a lurid film; however it is an extremely honest film that is not afraid to educate the viewer on what the porn industry does to the people. Boogie Nights made me think that porn is not just "fun and games", but it is actually exploiting people who have very few options in life. Another sad fact was that the actors and filmmakers consider what they were doing to be excellent and they truly felt they were making good films; it saddened and amused me to see them considering their work to be "well made". It made me sad to see just how ignorant they all were, what at heart is nearly as bad as an Ed Wood film.

Paul Thomas Anderon's talent bursts onto screen with a vivid and colourful spectrum of material. He gives a script that pulses with hysterical humour, quotable dialogue, brilliantly structured narrative and a raw edge. The story layout is glorious and has many twists and turns, showing every little effect. One of the film's most memorable film-making characteristics is the use of tracking shots, arguably the finest to ever be put on film. Boogie Nights has that authentic vibe that captures '70s and '80s pop culture with a delicate force. The use of tracking shots gives the film a needed documentary effect. It is a visionary experience and one where Paul Thomas Anderson loves his wonderfully flawed characters which he has carefully crafted. The film also sums up the contrast of how violence becomes a trial for the lives of the characters, it is a perfected transition. Paul Thomas Anderson captures the pop culture with excellence and hilarity, by using a variety of '70s and '80s iconic songs you feel pumped inside the era. The editing is amazingly clean-cut and with the use of quick shots, close-ups and a variety of unique techniques we become plummeted into the world and introduced to many characters through incredibly '90s film-making.

The ensemble cast is awe-inspiring, it adds to the mixture of quirky comedy and emotional driving force. There are so many talented actors and actresses who deliver career defining performances, which are some of the finest in modern cinema history. The entire cast light up the screen and create amusingly likable characters, who you manage to feel sympathy for. The actors and actresses control the viewer and help draw you inside the underworld of the porn industry, shedding light on what really happens and the unpleasantly genuine effects.

I would consider Boogie Nights a depressing film, yet one that also has an element of hope and edge of inspiring attitude because it shows that some people are able to change the nastiness they have dug themselves into. It works as a brilliant comedy, an insightful drama, a detailed study and an entertaining work of art. It has everything a true masterpiece needs. Many aspects of Boogie Nights are unpleasant One of the best films ever made, there is no questioning the sheer force and wonderful charm of wit which Boogie Nights holds. I guess Dirk's motto is true to Boogie Nights and much more, "everyone is blessed with one special thing".

Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg as two members of the porn industry in Boogie Nights.
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