Volume 4, Number 6
by Andrew Wallace
Some movies start with familiar things, and then take those someplace that you don't expect. "Falling Down", with Michael Douglas comes to mind. Lots of us have felt road rage, but few of us (I hope) are willing to take to the streets with weapons because of it. "The Pornographer" is one of those movies.
Paul, the primary character in this movie, is young, attractive, good in bed, and has a decent job. Unfortunately, he also has a terminal fear of women, and strange attitudes towards sex in general. It's made pretty clear in the film that he believes that it's largely because of his upbringing. He is terminally shy, and especially can't talk to women. Oddly enough, he has no problem speaking to the hooker he visits regularly, or the strippers at his regular club. It's just when he's faced with what he calls a "real girl" that he begins to stutter and stammer, and generally come off like an idiot. Doesn't matter if it's a new secretary in his office, or the girl behind the counter at the cafeteria - he's out of his element no matter how hard he tries. Sounds normal, or at least understandable. Everyone knows someone who's lonely.
For a lonely guy, an attractive woman who pays attention to him, tells him he's good looking, pays attention to what he says, is a drug. Hookers and stripper know this, it's how they make their living. Paul is addicted. His regular hooker, tries to get him to start dating a "real girl" gives him advice. Unfortunately, he tries her advice, with unpleasant consequences.
This failure leads him down a strange road to making his own fantasies into movies, using hookers and the stoner actor down the hall. His views his movies as art, and tries to make them better than what he rents at the local video store. These start as experiments, until he gets more advice - to try selling them to a distributor.
This leads him into the pornography industry, and partnerships with a sleazy producer, and a jaded veteran porn actress, both of whom want to use him in their own ways. Paul jumps into the porn industry with both feet, relishing his role as a rising star, and falling for the same lines that drew him to the strippers and hookers that all knew his name.
At the urging of the producer, he hunts down a fresh young face to bring into the industry, and cement his place there. This is when everything begins to go wrong. There are no real surprises in the conclusion of the movie, but the performances make it worth watching. Craig Wasson is excellent as the sleazy porn producer, whose proudest moment is his AVN award for the "Best Girl Girl Scene" in a movie. Michael DeGood is also quite good as the confused Paul, who can't figure out why women don't understand his own objectification of them. Katherine Cain's performance as Kate is a little weak, though - she barely seems present in some of her scenes. This may be her reading of the character's own insecurities, but I would have liked a little more presence.
As a movie, "The Pornographer" is well-made, even though it can be uncomfortable to watch at times. It's theme lends itself towards strong sexual content, and some pretty harsh language, but if the name itself doesn't tell you that, then I would guess you don't get out much. Look for "The Pornographer" at a film festival near you - the producer is trying to get a distribution deal, which is well-warranted.
A Doug Atchison Film
Paul - Michael DeGood
Kate - Katherine Cain
Cherise Gabrielle - Monique Parent
Mr Spano - Craig Wasson