Boogie Nights (P.T. Anderson, 1997)

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A first love of mine. Seen initially at the tender age of 16, Boogie Nights knocked me out like few other films have (except maybe Pulp Fiction). Watching it now, almost ten years later and hot on the heels of a revisiting of Magnolia, PTA’s second feature still glistens and gleams, but not to the point of delirium I remember so fondly . It remains a stellar example of Anderson’s love for movement, through both camera and music, sometimes at the expense of his characters. The first half especially, the “beginning of the end of the porn film industry”, does not succeed like Magnolia‘s heartbreaking modern but personal expose’. But Boogie Nights‘ descent into madness is even more fresh and frightening – the cross cutting between Dirk’s assault, Roller Girl’s beat down of a familiar frat boy, and Buck Swope’s fateful donut stop is one of Anderson’s grandest achievements in directing. It’s with these transitions that Boogie Nights shows it’s gravitas, the chance encounters that can define and destroy our very existence. Mark Wahlberg’s performance as the sweet, dense, and very endowed Diggler, gets better each time. Others, like Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) and Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) take full focus, while many characters are left behind unfinished and unexplored. Boogie Nights, while a stunning, epic, and fleeting mosaic, is slightly less memorable than Magnolia or Punch-drunk Love. Apples and oranges, though. The patented PTA long steady-cam shot which ends the film sums it all up; family is everything and they’ll probably forgive and forget, no matter how much you’ve fucked them [over].

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One thought on “Boogie Nights (P.T. Anderson, 1997)

  1. Fun, hilarious, fast-paced, and overall just a great piece of cinema. I never knew what their intentions were with this one, but whatever they were, they did a good job with it. Check out my review when you can!

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