(Review originally written at 13 August 2006)

I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie at first. I expected this movie to be a fun and non-serious one. After all the movie its premise and concept seems at first sight like fun comedy material rather than heavy dramatic stuff. Overall the movie did had a fun and non-serious feeling and atmosphere all over it but the movie is not without good and powerful dramatic moments as well. The movie and its story even take epic proportions at times, especially in the movie its second halve. You can say that this movie really surprised me in a positive about how good it was and it surely surpassed all my expectations.

Basically this movie is a great example of good storytelling. It takes its time to set out the lines. Lots of characters are introduced and the movie takes its time to develop every one of them. The first halve of the movie sets up things and it does this in a pretty lighthearted and fun way, with lots of crazy over-the-top, stereotypical characters. Once the second halve kicks in the movie becomes more dramatic and serious. It all works surprisingly powerful and effective. Surprising, since it's obviously in contrast with the first halve of the movie. "Boogie Nights" is a well balanced movie that gets heavy and serious but never without its overall fun lighthearted atmosphere. The characters and situations force you to not take this movie serious, no matter how heavy and dramatic it gets. In this case that is not a bad thing, since it all is so extremely well balanced. It's like the one thing helps to make the other better in this movie, instead of working distracting from- or making it not credible.

The movie also does a very good job at recreating the feeling, look and atmosphere of the '70's. It does this of course with its clothes, sets and facial hair but also with more subtle things such as its dialog. It all helps to make "Boogie Nights" a very style-full looking movie with a creative feeling and atmosphere of its own.

It does a good and creative job at keeping the nudity and sex sequences to a minimum, although it of course is impossible to keep out all the nudity and controversy. That is simply impossible, since the movie is about a controversial subject. The movie provides a good refreshing and I think also realistic(?) look into the world of porn in the '70's and '80's, when the video's and cinematic adult movies were new and popular. It however does this in a respectful way without making really any fun of it. It's highly tempting to turn a movie set in the '70's into a satirical comedy of that era. It does make fun of several things, such as the typical '70's television series but the movie never turns into a full satire.

The movie is filled with some wonderful and well known actors, who all give a very good performance. Many big names are involved and that says something about the quality of the Oscar nominated script, that obviously inspired and impressed the fine actors involved. Mark Wahlberg shows that he can handle a big and heavy carrying role. He shows his qualities and skills in this movie. Also really great were Burt Reynolds and Julianne Moore, who both were nominated for an Oscar as well. Other fine roles are being portrayed by good and well known actors such as Heather Graham, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Don Cheadle, Thomas Jane, Luis Guzmán and Alfred Molina. Yes, it certainly is true that there are many and perhaps too many characters in the movie. It tries too follow one or two too many plot lines with as a result that not everything and everyone works out quite well enough. This perhaps is the only flaw in this otherwise great, wonderful, compelling and powerful movie.

A fun to watch but yet also wonderful compelling and powerful movie about the rise and fall of a porn star in the '70's/'80's. A movie that takes surprising epic proportions! Certainly among the very best movies of the '90's.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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