‘Lucky Bastard’ is graphic, disturbing and excellent

Betsy Rue as porn star “Ashley Saint” in the film ‘Lucky Bastard’

The found footage genre can trace its origins back to 1980’s Cannibal Holocaust.  To be effective, a found footage film needs to create a strong illusion that what the audience is seeing is actual footage recorded by the characters.

Lucky Bastard uses an effective method for this and that is just one of the things that make this a very good film.

At first glance it would be easy to just dismiss this movie as nothing more than “Para-Pornal Activity”.  It would be wrong to do so. Make no mistake, Lucky Bastard is rated NC-17; meaning some viewers will find the material disturbing and potentially offensive.  It is not for the faint of heart.  The portrayals of sex are graphic, but this is a movie about people who make internet porn.  So how else to tell the tale without going there?  They went there and they made a movie well worth watching.

“Mike” (Don McManus) runs a website called ‘Lucky Bastard’ and aside from the normal portrayals of sex acts between paid porn pros, its real gimmick is that subscribers can enter a “contest” to win a chance to have sex with a real porn star.  The catch is that the winner must allow for his experience to be recorded and viewed by all of the other subscribers.  It is done in such a way as to humiliate and make the winner look really bad.  But considering that the membership is paying Mike $30 a month to subscribe to his site, there’s an audience that wants to see just that.

Jay Paulson is the 'Lucky Bastard'
Jay Paulson is the ‘Lucky Bastard’

One of his biggest stars is the lovely “Ashley Saint” (Betsy Rue) and he approaches her about starring in the most recent winner’s ‘movie’.  She doesn’t like the look of “Dave” (Jay Paulson) and doesn’t want to be involved in working with an “amateur” but Mike makes it worth her wild.  Mike and his crew of cameraman “Kris” (Chris Wylde), “Nico” (Lanny Joon) and his girfrlend/aspiring porn star “Casey” (Catherine Annette) will all be there at the rented house for the filming of Ashley’s scene with Dave.  Turns out that Ashley’s instincts were right and soon things go very wrong for everyone.

It is not easy to write characters with depth and even more difficult to portray them.  The entire cast is great but in particular McManus, Paulson and Rue deliver awesome, authentic performances.  Annette doesn’t get as much screen time but she makes the most of every minute, particularly in a scene where she stands up for herself in stark, strident fashion.

One of the great aspects of this film, thanks to writers Nathan (who directed) and Kendall is that they make the audience understand that the people who make porn are real people, with homes, bills, and kids to care for.  Too often the media’s portrayals of those who work in this industry are dehumanizing.  It also manages; in spite of what some feminists might claim, to actually empower the two main female characters.  They are strong, don’t put up with nonsense and to them, having sex in front of a camera is merely acting.

Again, be warned that there is graphic sex and very realistic violence in this film.  But if you can handle that kind of thing, you won’t be sorry you took a chance on Lucky Bastard.

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