Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
Germany/Canada, 1996. Dangerous to Know Swell Co., Hustler White Productions, Jürgen Brüning Filmproduktion. Screenplay by Rick Castro, Bruce La Bruce. Cinematography by James Carman. Produced by Jurgen Bruning, Bruce La Bruce. Production Design by Rick Castro, Bruce La Bruce. Film Editing by Rider Siphron. Toronto International Film Festival 1996.
Bruce La Bruce’s usual style of explicitly sexual and violent filmmaking meets up with a bit of good old fashioned storytelling in this lurid melodrama. He stars as a writer who comes to Los Angeles to research hustlers on Santa Monica Boulevard and write a book about them. He immediately becomes obsessed with one man in particular (Tony Ward, most famous for having been Madonna’s boyfriend and appearing in her naughty Justify My Love video), and tries to track him down in an effort to interview him. Meanwhile, Ward weaves in and out of encounters with a myriad of sexual tastes, including amputee fetishes, a gang-bang orgy, and an elderly gentleman who likes to be slashed with razors while tied up. La Bruce desperately wants to revive the generation of Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey films like Flesh and Heat, but fails miserably because his characters are dark and hateful and his direction sorely lacks humour. An attempt to turn the film into an ironically silly romantic comedy at the end doesn’t work at all, while the bad acting and scarcely visible plotting will bore the pants off of anyone who isn’t grossed out by it first. Probably the most enjoyable aspect of the film is its poster’s tagline: “See it with someone you’ve paid for.”