P.T. Anderson Series: ‘Boogie Nights’ -Review

Boogie Nights is a 1997 film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson about Dirk Diggler, a young man discovered by a director of pornographic films, Jack Horner. He is quickly introduced to many other actors and transformed into the biggest name in adult films. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, and William H. Macy.

Over the past years we’ve seen tons of movies about the rise and fall of many people in life. People who become something big and forget who they truly are. This is undoubtedly one of the best that deals with this topic. This film itself could’ve been told with any sort of subject other than porn and still been amazing. The story, the characters, the dialogue, the acting. Everything about this film is great and captures the setting it’s in in such a creative way. With films like Star Wars it’s easy to get immersed and feel like you’re visiting a different world for its given run time. This film may not take place in space with giant spaceships but it does immerse you into what feels like a completely different world (for me anyway). I’m only 19, I never knew what the 70’s were like, so seeing this film and seeing what it was like almost does feel like I was immersed into a different world. It truly captures the essence of it’s time period and does an amazing job at it.

It’s easy to look at this film and see what could’ve been another cheaply made raunchy film for college kids like American Pie. Any scene in this film taken out of context can look pretty funny but as a whole this film story is absolutely riveting. It’s terrifically done and does an amazing with the characters, the pacing, and orchestrating the decisions of characters like a like a musical number. There is no scene in this movie at all that felt like a bore, the pacing is done perfectly. The characters are so great, even the minor ones. There’s not any sort of annoying ongoing joke with any of them either that you’d normally find in a big cast like this. Rather they make a lot of points and obvious nods with how characters behave making the actions of some characters very obvious. It’s perfectly written.

My absolute favorite part of this film was the directing. The directing and cinematography of this film is gorgeous. The cinematographer Robert Elswit constructs some of the most gorgeous shots I’ve ever seen in film. The shots themselves are somewhat simple but also complex enough to make you pay attention to what is going on in the background during many scenes not only giving you a glimpse of what you’re supposed to be paying attention but something that can add to the story as well. The directing is great as the movie itself as a whole is brilliant. This may not have been his first film (I do plan on reviewing Hard Eight next), but it was the first one I watched that was done by him which is why I chose this to be the first in this series.

Overall, Boogie Nights is a great, brilliant, riveting, and very fun movie. The only issue I have with this movie at all is that towards the end it begins to feel a bit different with it’s tone and overall content. The film has brilliant and lovable characters and amazing performances. I give Boogie Nights a 9/10

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