"The Auteur" - 2008
Dir. by James Westby - 1 hr. 17 min.
I'll admit, sometimes when scouring my queue on Netflix, I'll choose a movie based on how short it is. In a theatre, with fewer distractions and the commitment of having driven somewhere with the sole purpose of seeing a film, I can deal with longer movies. But at home, it's a different story. I don't remember why I put this movie in my queue (or when), but being a trim 77 minutes long, it sounded like a reasonable choice for a quick late-night movie.
As it turned out, it was pretty good. Better than I was expecting, to be sure. "The Auteur" is a movie about a famed porno director who is being honored with a career retrospective in a theatre, although his recent films have been getting progressively worse. The director, Arturo Domingo (played by Melik Malkasian), is an artist, shooting on film and only including sexual acts in his films when they are central to the story. There's more to it than that, but that's a good place setting.
This is unquestionably an indie film, and that means that I hold it to a slightly different standard. A film on no budget isn't going to have the same gloss as a more expensive one, and that's fine. It's offset by a casually enthusiastic approach to nudity and foul language (including a parade of fake porno titles like "Full Metal Jackoff" and "Dyke Club," with parts of each "movie" actually shown) that you'd never get from a big budget production. While there are moments that are sitcom-predictable, on the whole it's a pretty funny movie. The star, Melik Malkasian, is hilarious (with a thick accent and in full-on tyro mode). There's a couple of lines in the film that are flat out great (relating to Google-stalking a girl), and on top of that, there's a number of beautiful establishing shots of Portland (Oregon, of course) that ought to be used to encourage tourism. Being an Portland-area resident, it was fun actually knowing where they had shot a lot of the footage (there are few enough movies done in the area that it's still a thrill).
I did enjoy "The Auteur" more than I expected. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but you could do a lot worse with your 77 minutes.
3.5 / 5 - NF Streaming
Stream the entire movie at Hulu