The simple title of this film may broadly explain its genre as a thriller and setting in the world of gay sex industry. But this betrays the complex multi-layered plot-line and dense atmospheric mood which it inspires, crafting a genuinely unsettling piece of cinema which lingers in your mind many moments after it’s finished.
Weaving and twisting together three stories the film begins in 1995 following a gay porn star Mark Anton (Jared Grey) looking for one last job to get out of the business. But he ends up involved in a private show more frightening than he ever imagined.
Jumping to present day we pick up the plot with Michael (Matthew Montgomery) a writer researching a book on the history of homoerotic films who stumbles onto a supposed snuff movie which draws him into a dark secret world.
Finally in L.A Matt (Pete Scherer), another porn star, begins shooting his script for a new porno-thriller in three acts, The Mark Anton Story, oblivious to the fact that the script he believes he has invented has in fact already happened. As reality and fiction, past and present blur Matt starts to loss himself while playing Mark and the 3 worlds start to combine spiraling out of control towards a dark and destructive conclusion.
Packed full of photographs, TV screens, security cameras, film camera’s, DVD’s and videos the film is all about voyeurism and identity. With the inclusion of actors playing actors, a character studying movies and a film within a film the movie is a postmodern exercise deliberately designed to make the audience aware that they implicated in the events occurring.
A bleak, brutal and unflinching movie it is explicit in its portrayal of the world of gay pornography in both the sex scenes and the lives of the characters much like A Serbian Film. Exposing the low budget, seedy side and the high paid glossy Hollywood movies, it shows how both come with there own perils and consequences for the characters who inhabit them – all of whom are portrayed by excellent actors.
Writer and director David Kittredge does an excellent job with both the multifaceted story and the artistic direction, never plunging either into the realms of self indulgence or pretension and making the most of the small budget that the film was made with.
Drawing a great deal of inspiration from David Lynch and David Cronenberg in the style and story construction, Kittredge creates a constant feeling of tension keeping the audience on edge as if the threat of violence where always present.
Pornography: A Thriller is an excellent film dealing with a world rarely seen in mainstream cinema and Kittredge does a great job within the confines of his budget creating a haunting disturbing ambiance.
Sadly due to its subject matter and content it will probably only be seen by a very niche audience which is a real shame.