Released: Jun 27th, 2012
Running Time: 139 Min.
Director: Sam Hain
Company: Zero Tolerance Entertainment
DVD Extras: Behind the Scenes Featurettes, Interviews, Still Gallery(ies), Trailer(s), Widescreen
Cast: James Deen, Katie St. Ives, Anthony Rosano, Chastity Lynn, Chanel Preston, Tommy Pistol, Brian Street Team, Lizz Tayler, Evan Stone, Andy San Dimas, Stevie Shae
Non-sex Roles: Peter O'Tool, Redd Dyver
Critical Rating: AAAA
A neo-noir thriller that uncovers the dark and steamy side of San Fernando Valley. Cumshoe detective Marlowe is on the case to find a wealthy man's missing daughter, deep in the heart of the San Fernando Valley where the underground porn industry lurks just below the twinkling lights and palm trees. Beautiful women and powerful producers try to influence Marlowe who must keep his cool in order to navigate a maze of dangerous suspects. A breakout performance by Tommy Pistol drives this neo-noir thriller through unexpected twists and turns as exciting as they are erotic.
Sam Hain has been a creative force behind several top-notch porn parodies, including homages to The X Files and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now he’s tackled a totally different genre—film noir—in Zero Tolerance’s The Valley. Hain has come up with a script worthy of admiration by film buffs, deftly referencing Raymond Chandler’s detective novels.
Tommy Pistol is Marlowe, but here Chandler’s iconic private eye has been reimagined as an Iraqi war vet and the action has been moved from Hollywood to the San Fernando Valley. As in Chandler’s The Big Sleep, Marlowe has been hired by a rich man with a wayward daughter, and there’s another daughter—played by Andy San Dimas—who doesn’t seem to want her sister found.
As Marlowe follows the trail of the missing girl (played by Chastity Lynn), his investigation takes him into an alternate universe where pornographers are still making a fortune; there he meets a sleazeball producer (Evan Stone) and falls for a beautiful porn star (Chanel Preston) before the big reveal at the end.
The story is fun, the performers are solid (particularly Pistol, Stone and Preston), and the sex scenes are hot. But true film noir fans will likely quibble with the lighting and the camerawork—a notable weakness for an homage to this genre. The best-looking scene features Chastity Lynn, James Deen and Anthony Rosano on an elaborate porn set with dramatic, shadowy lighting—and the look here is what the whole movie needed: stylish, dramatic and polished. To be sure, classic film noir often used multiple types of lighting to set different moods, but here the lighting seems random and inconsistent. And in rating this title it was necessary to shave points off for three instances where one hears murmured verbal directions to performers during sex scenes. That’s not the kind of voiceover you’re looking for in film noir.