“This is the film I want them to remember me by,” declares porn auteur Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds, in a career performance). Though there’s plenty of competition, Paul Thomas Anderson could easily claim this, his sophomore feature, as his bid for posterity. A sprawling mosaic of life in the adult-film industry, Horner’s surrogate “family”—uniquely qualified star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg), nurturing Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), sweetly pathetic boom operator Scotty J. (a poignant Philip Seymour Hoffman)—rides high in the late 1970s before changing tides and technologies render them has-beens in Reagan’s America. Brilliant acting by Anderson’s stock company and the writer-director’s sensitive approach make Boogie Nights “a big, bright, shining star” in the firmament of American film. An NYFF35 selection.
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