hard to believe that it's about 15 years since The Blair Witch Project
jumpstarted the mini-craze for "found footage" moviemaking.
know how it is: the movie is supposed to be a homemade video found of normal
folks who are taping themselves when they suddenly find themselves thrust
into an extraordinary, often life-threatening situations. The films
never have opening credits and usually have completely unknown casts, often
acting in their own real names, to keep the illusion of reality alive.
the style has never exactly taken off, it has been used steadily ever since
in low-budget films, mostly of the horror variety. It has employed
witches (The Blair Witch Project), demons (the
Paranormal Activity movies), monsters (Cloverfield),
aliens (Dark Skies) and even teen delinquents (Judy
style seems to be running out of subjects to be hooks to hang the gimmick on, and to give it
credit, Lucky Bastard
has come up with an intriguing new way to use the
style. Lucky Bastard takes on those cheesy porn websites in
which guys with handheld cameras appear to bribe or bully random women into
having sex with them on shaky handheld camera. (Though this film
intimates, as you may have already guessed, that those women are actually
paid porn actresses.) The sites shown in Lucky Bastard seem to
be particularly down and dirty, trading on kinks like rape.
only way you really know this isn't found footage is that star Don McManus,
while no household name, has been working steadily enough over the last
couple of decades that you are likely to recognize him from something or
other he has done.
Lucky Bastard, specializes on bringing in the site's own subscribers to have sex with one of
their stars. The site is owned by a jaded producer (McManus), who
likes mocking the "lucky" winners on cam for being losers as their "dreams come true."
biggest star (Betsy Rue) refuses to be a part of the stunt, saying she will
not work with amateurs. But finally the guy talks her into giving it a
try. They choose a nerdy former soldier (Jay Paulson) who sends in a
video application. He is not vetted at all, and quickly after they
pick him up at a local rail station they realize the guy is a bit off
center. When he calls the porn actress by her real name, she again has
serious second thoughts, but is talked into it again by the producer.
the filming finally starts and the ex-soldier has a bit of performance
anxiety, he totally loses it and goes on a violent rampage on the cast and
footage movies are difficult to critique on traditional film terms, because
normal considerations – acting, dialogue, camera work, etc. – are rendered
moot just due to the situation. The actors are acting as someone who
is quite conscious of being on camera, so cast are going to try not to look natural
subtle questions come up. I believe that the camerawork has a cheesy,
sleazy porn sheen as a tribute to the style and an attempt for realism, not
just because it is a poorly filmed low-budget movie. But maybe I'm
just giving them too much credit. I like to believe not.
Lucky Bastard has some really good parts.
McManus is terrific as a man who is so cynically selfish that he is
entertaining in his complete prickishness. Rue also brings some
surprising depth to her porn star heroine.
Honestly, the violence is the least
intriguing part of Lucky Bastard. It is just fine, but it seems
rather predictable in a film that if nothing else was very different than
anything you have seen.
Lucky Bastard works
best in shining a light on a shadowy backwater of the entertainment world.
It's far from perfect, but it's pretty interesting.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2014 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: February 24, 2014.