A male-oriented reboot of Mulholland Drive, David Kittredge’s Pornography: A Thriller doesn’t lack for ambition. Straightforwardly titled yet bent to the max, Pornography is a shape-shifting, genre-twisting plunge into a nefarious sexual underworld that so envisions itself as a David Lynch film it might just qualify as having an identity crisis. Of course there are worse filmmakers one might see in the mirror, and Kittredge proves himself a steady, able study. That said, a constantly self-reflexive, endlessly looping, multicharacter thriller narrative geared up with all sorts of assaultive visual and aural tricks for a debut feature? Kittredge may have gone so far down his own rabbit hole he may never again see daylight.
This isn’t to infer there’s no pleasure to be gained from this hump-happy hall of mirrors. Kittredge’s whiplash-inducing turnabouts are so well placed and his discrete creeping mysteries so nicely paced that all of the increasingly wild identity morphs and resolution refusals go down surprisingly easy. For, despite the title, this is a film that rejects catharsis again and again—an elaborate, twisted denial of release. Naturally, many will find its approach, this epic form of cock-blocking, irredeemably unsatisfying. Yet the film is impressively committed to its own vision and logic, even if the whole picture might not end up quite as clear to the viewer as it does (one hopes) to Kittredge. Read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of Pornography: A Thriller.