What an epic! Falling into one of my favourite formats, you know, the rags to riches tale followed by the hard fall from grace a la "Casino", " GoodFellas" , "Blow" to name a few; there really is something intensely watchable in following the story of all these characters as they try to make something out of themselves and then seeing how greed and jealousy seal their untimely fall with only a few managing to redeem themselves.
I can certainly see why Boogie Nights was such a Hollywood revelation when it came out back in 1997 not least for the original story but for how cleverly it captured a moment in time, the height of the disco era, starting with the carefree 1977 and ending with the excess of the 80s, 1983.
The film cleverly exhibits the porn industry as a humane place to be, 1977 was a time when such films were shown in cinemas and were as much an artistic expression as any other movie you'd pay to see; the people working in the industry were no more than a close knit group, an extended family where they might have been accepted in a way they wouldn't have been in their own homes and real bonds were made; there's a tangible innocence here, from the central character Eddie Adams/Dirk Digler, who's really is just a 17 year old runaway, taunted by his mother who says he won't amount to anything in his life, roller girl , an assumed runaway and similarly unloved teenager who demands respect from her sex partners, Amber Waves who sees herself as the mother of the group having lost custody of her own child, Jack Horner as the surrogate father figure to the group, the man behind the entire operation but who never really come across as sleazy or opportunistic, in fact he seems to be genuinely caring and looks out for everybody involved.
Carried by a stellar cast as well, Mark Wahlberg in his breakthrough role, Burt Reynolds whom I've never liked as much as I liked him in this, Julianne Moore excellent as always, Heather Graham also magnificent, John C. Reilly great as the faithful Dirk Diggler number one fan and all around entourage, Phillip Seymour Hoffman second in line in the Dirk Diggler fan club, William H. Macy another brilliant performance and a consistent great actor, Don Cheadle dignified performance as the pornographic actor with higher ambitions , Alfred Molina as a deranged playboy in one of the best constructed scenes on film EVER, I mean these are just a few reasons why this film is so brilliant and must be watched.
Visually stunning too, a great cinematic experience all around and excellent platform for endless quoting, Boogie Nights is another epic of epic epicness.