Released: Feb 01st, 2001
Running Time: 88
Director: Doug Atchison
Company: Integrity Pictures
Cast: Michael DeGood, Craig Wasson, Katheryn Cain, Monique Parent
Critical Rating: AAAA
Oh boy. The very solemn music that runs over the opening credits is a sure-fire tipoff that this R-rated dramatic release is going to be yet another cautionary tale about the consequences of getting involved with the big, bad porn industry.
The Pornographer tells the story of a 20-something paralegal who turns to making amateur-quality porn because he's such a zero with the real women in his lonely life. While his newfound vocation at first seems to be the answer to all his problems, it - see if you can guess now - soon becomes a nightmare with tragic results.
The film's Old Testament-like POV is a bit surprising considering it was directed by a Gen-Xish type, Doug Atchison, who, one would hope, given his rather tender age, would have had a less stodgy, anal-retentive take on the business.
Then again, given his seemingly superficial knowledge of smutdom, Atchison's reactionary judgments aren't difficult to understand. While he gets some details right (references to John Stagliano and the AVN Awards), he flubs others (the protagonist, for instance, is always seen just, uh, watching his stroke tapes alone at home).
Technically, the film is well-made and well-acted and could easily screen in theaters or on cable. And for anyone interested in the subject matter, the script is compelling, though at times clichéd and simplistic (i.e., everyone in the industry is a scumbag; only losers watch porn, etc.). Sadly, the story tanks in the sophomoric, all-too-pat third act as our hero finally sees the "light" about the evil porn business. But it's an epiphany that comes too late to prevent the industry from chewing up and spitting out yet another "victim."
The none-too-subtle message of The Pornographer is that if you get mixed up with the video skin trade, you're gonna wind up soulless, incarcerated or even dead. Oh please.