Wonderland (2003)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA/Canada, 2003.  .  Screenplay by James Cox, , , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by .  

“Long” John Holmes, aka Johnny Wad, starred in over a thousand adult films and, according to legend, applied his 14-inch penis to over 14,000 women (and a handful of men when he needed the cash).  Did you know that he was also once at the centre of a murder investigation? This super-fun trip to the last days of disco, sort of a more energetic (and thankfully much shorter) Boogie Nights, tells the tale of the night that four people are murdered, members of a drug ring with whom Holmes (played with effervescent energy by ) partied on a regular basis. The tale can’t be told in a straightforward manner as the case remains somewhat unresolved, leaving the Rashomon-style plotting, in which various people tell their side of what happened, as perfectly appropriate to the proceedings. All the performances are excellent, the most impressive (other than Kilmer, whose over-the-top style couldn’t be more suited to the role) being as the drug king and as one of his main guns. Director Joel Cox does a great job of recreating the period and putting the world that Holmes inhabited right up front for you to see in all of its grimy detail. What he doesn’t do is gratify the curiosity of anyone looking to indulge in any kind of exploitation of classic porn cinema, even if casting an underqualified  might make it seem as if this is the direction the film is going to go in.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2003


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