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Released: Jun 01st, 1997
Running Time: 109
Director: James DiGiorgio
Company: Sin City Entertainment
Cast: Valentino (I), Jake Steed, Delphin, Shayla LaVeaux, Sean Rider, Nikki Lynn, J.J. Michaels, Micki Lynn, Marc Wallice, Peter Romero, Ashley Renee, Jacklyn Lick, Kimi Gee, Alex Dane
Critical Rating: AAAA
If Nightshift were German expressionism, director James DiGiorgio would be strutting around like Erich Von Stroheim with a riding crop and a Teutonic accent. Except Nightshift is an adult feature, in which case one suspects DiGiorgio has spent lots of time studying, at best, the Jim Jarmusch style; or, at the very least, the John Leslie style. Any way you pierce the veil of shadow, Nightshift plays like an homage to the intriguing circumstances which unite strangers under the umbrella of claustrophobia. Call it sex noir.
Aside from that, there's also at work here a rather obvious obsession with public sex in taxicabs. Several scenes venture onto this outré territory with debatable success, and so much of it plays like a frantic teen grope at Lookout Point. Not bad stuff, mind you; then again, not totally resolved, either. It doesn't take a Vilmos Zsigmond to figure out that the spatial relationship between a safety belt and a woman's snatch is prospectively daunting to the camera. Fortunately, this in no way decreases the heat of the scene.
Passengers Shayla LaVeaux and newcomer Nikki Lynn enter a lesbian marriage pact while cabdriver DiGiorgio gawks and makes comments like Vince McMahon during a wrestling match. Cab driver Jacklyn Lick winds up stranded on Mulholland Drive (please, no Ennis Cosby jokes) with passenger Sean Rider, only to be having sex as a tow truck hooks up to the front fender.
The indoor three-way/d.p. with Delphin, Marc Wallice and J.J. Michaels comes chillingly close to the masterful stuff we've seen Leslie do in the Fresh Meat series.
DiGiorgio, to his credit, relinquishes the indulgence to go the MTV-route, and he's hitting on all cylinders in a lot of creative respects. He just has to let the meter run a bit longer on the stuff that truly counts. But despite its minor defects, Nightshift is one noteworthy tape, the memory of which should last at least until awards-nomination season.