Boogie Nights

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(1997) ★★★★

Sky Movies Greats: Wednesday 23 September, 12.15am

Boy-next-door Mark Wahlberg reborn as porn star Dirk Diggler, a young stud with the equipment to carry off such a preposterous name. Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic, non-judgmental look at LA’s seedy subculture covers a period, from the late 1970s through the early 1980s, when ‘adult films’ moved from a cult semi-respectability to cash-in quick video sleaze. Drugs too moved in an upwardly mobile, downwardly spiralling direction and Diggler’s cocaine addiction shrinks his assets while enlarging his insecure ego.

There was bound to be an unhappy ending for the players in the porn game (it came in the shape of Aids) and Anderson’s smartly crafted film finds an unforced poignancy in the ignorance and odd innocence of Diggler and his playmates. Yes, it was inspired in part by John ‘the Wad’ Holmes and, no, that isn’t really Wahlberg’s ‘wad’ on display. The acting throughout the cast is exceptional: Burt Reynolds is veteran smut director Jack Horner, yearning to make a serious film, Julianne Moore is divorcee starlet Amber Waves and Heather Graham is Rollergirl, sashaying through the episodic plot like a lost angel.

The story unfolds in what amounts to a series of set-pieces, none better than a complex Christmas 1983 segment that, in separate incidents, puts Diggler and Rollergirl back on the streets while colleague Don Cheadle finds in a doughnut shop an answer of sorts to his problems. It’s at moments like this that Anderson confirms the promise of his debut feature Hard Eight. John C. Reilly, Philip Baker Hall and Philip Seymour Hoffman all appeared in that film and they make telling contributions here. The use of music, too, is astute, avoiding the camp pitfalls of a notoriously cheesy era.

Certificate: 18

Duration: 149min

IMDB – Boogie Nights

TMDB – Boogie Nights

Rotten Tomatoes – Boogie Nights

Other Showings Time & Date
Sky Movies Select Sunday, 27 September at 1:40AM
Sky Movies Select Friday, 2 October at 12:40AM