Pathfinder // 2005 // 90 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 13th, 2006
Somewhere in the San Fernando Valley, they're making a movie right now.
Every wonder what happens behind the seedy doors of motels and sound stages of the adult entertainment industry? If so, I'm not sure why -- you can find out by renting a porn movie for only $2.99 at your local video shop. However, if you've ever wanted to see what being in the porn business is like -- even when the cameras are turned off and put away -- Rated X: A Journey Through Porn might be to your liking. Documentary filmmaker Dag Yngvesson straps his trusty camera to his side and interviews various famous figures from the adult entertainment world, including tragic figure Jeanna Fine, porn legend Bill Marigold, and others, as well as gets a first hand look at what it takes to put two (or three, or four) gyrating bodies on the small screen. Get ready to put on some protection and take a ride into Rated X: A Journey Through Porn.
I feel as though I have little to say about Rated X: A Journey Through Porn. It's safe to say I was expecting something more -- a movie not just about the adult video industry, but also the thoughts, notions, opinions, pleasures, and dangers of those who thrive in its womb. Instead, viewers are given a bare bones basic day-by-day documentation of what it's like to be on a porno film set, which is available on most high-end adult video DVDs (err, or so I've heard).
To be sure, this is a documentary not meant for the squeamish -- there are plenty of intercourse shots here, though none quite as graphic as what you'll find in the movies it dissects. Those looking for an explanation as to why women would sell their bodies for filmed sex are given only a few fleeting answers: the insanely high salaries, the pleasure of making love to multiple strangers, and 90% of the women working in porn were molested at one point in their lives. These reasons are never explored in much depth -- they're more facts than answers. When some of the talent is questioned their answers are often confusing or evading -- it's as if no one wants to look into the eye of their choices and answer for them.
Director Dag Yngvesson, who looks like Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, appears to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time (at least, when it comes to porn that is). Dag is able to score interviews with such high profile adult actors as Jeanna Fine (whose feature credits including the critically acclaimed Waterworld 4: History of the Enema and Butt Motors) and male performer Sean Michaels (who was passed over for an Oscar nod in the classic European Meat Market Part 2: Royal Rump Roast). They seem like nice enough folks, though some of their reasons for being in porn are dubious at best. (Michaels quips that he doesn't do the sex scenes for himself, but for "his fans and the public." Umm, sure Sean, whatever you say.)
Dag eventually scores himself a job as a cameraman on one of the movies he documents, Velvet. His "excruciating" decision whether or not to take the job is laughable -- for a man who is spending more than half of his day chasing porn starlets and admits to being fascinated to porn since early childhood, it appears to be a no-brainer. We then cut to Dag futilely attempting to score shots from weird angles, as when one actor is having sex with another while yet another woman rides her face. Delightful.
You're not going to learn a whole lot about porn through this documentary --
its only real educational contributions are that:
A.) Porn actors like having sex (surprise!).
B.) Without the make-up porn stars can be really, really scary looking.
C.) At the end of every porn flick, the audience apparently wants the coveted "money shot."
With Rated X: A Journey Through Porn, I'm still waiting for that shot.
Rated X: A Journey Through Porn is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, its original aspect ratio. This isn't a very exciting transfer -- true to its real life roots, the picture is often shaky and dimly lit. Because the source is a video camera, get ready for a rather low-budget experience.
The soundtrack is presented in what appears to be Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (no mention is made on the package) in English. Much like the video, this sound mix is only mediocre; there were times when I had to strain to hear what the performers were saying, though the moaning of pleasured starlets came in loud and clear. No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are included on this disc.
Only a few extra supplements are included on this disc. Viewers get a few deleted scenes, interviews with adult film actors Ron Jeremy, Jenna Jameson, and Nina Hartley, a time-lapse sex scene, and a still gallery.
Review content copyright © 2006 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Still Gallery
* Bonus Interviews with Ron Jeremy, Jenna Jameson, and Nina Hartley
* Deleted Scenes
* Time-Lapse Sex Scene