Walter Mencken 11:31 a.m., Feb. 1
Calling Bull****: Kelly Reilly's junkie angel in Flight
Sometimes things stick in your craw, you know?
So this movie Flight came out last weekend, and in this movie, there's this heroin addict, and right after we meet her, she's visiting the set of a porn film, hoping to score a hit off the director. Now, our junkie is a pretty girl...
...so naturally, the director offers an exchange of goods: she does a scene in his film, he gives her some heroin. Seems right. But our junkie recoils in horror: she is not about to debase herself in this way just to get high. Very noble.
Except, I'm pretty sure that's not how junkies behave. In my (admittedly limited) experience, drugs have a way of taking over, so that petty concerns like human dignity simply cease to matter. Take it away, deeply disturbing clip from Requiem for a Dream:
So that's problem number one. Problem number two: the director tries to smooth talk her into working by insisting that what he's doing is highbrow porn, arty porn, porn based on Shakespeare's Othello. "We're calling it The Beast with Two Backs," he says, citing The Bard's famous euphemism. Yeah, no. First, it's pretty clear that poor story structure is not her problem with the proposition. Second, that's a lazy writer's room gag about giving porn names to classic works, not a real thing that would ever happen. What's Othello about again? Oh, yeah - one man's insane rage over the very idea that his (actually innocent) wife has been promiscuous. It's tough to make a porn film in which sexual purity is prized, and about a girl who is completely faithful to her husband. Unless the whole thing is going to be Othello's fever dream of what might be happening.
Right, right - stop being so ticky-tack. Let's move on to problem number three: instead of telling our junkie where she can stick her precious sexual delicacy, our rebuffed director repents of his offer, and just hands her a hit of the really good stuff, free of charge. (He even tells her, "I don't want your money," because friends don't let friends pay for drugs.) Plus, he gives her some coke to pick her up in case the heroin takes her too far down. Forget the hooker with a heart of gold; this here's the pornjock-dealer with a heart of purest platinum.
Why is this thoroughly dishonest scene in the film? Because we need our girl damaged, but not too damaged: the kind of girl who would visit a porn set and be friends with the director (ooh, edgy). But not the kind of girl who would ever do porn (ew, gross). Even if she's an addict.
Fie on that.
More like this:
- Origins, Part II: more from James Cameron's Piranha Part 2: The Spawning — Sept. 30, 2013
- Point Loma High School film studio shut down during investigation into porn shoot — April 17, 2013
- Interview with Starlet director and co-writer Sean Baker — Dec. 4, 2012
- XXXchurch, Corona — Dec. 22, 2005
- Remake, Sequel, Original — Jan. 20, 2005