Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn movie review (2021)

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It’s unclear whether the latter approached her because he recognized her from the video or because that’s just what clueless older men sometimes do, and this ambiguity, too, is not as important as the overall vibe of the movie, which somehow inexplicably feels like life. All around us are people who have seen and in some cases are actively watching pornography, and the porn is derived from currents within the culture that the filmmaker, er, lays bare, by watching his main character go about her mundane daily business.

Nearly all of the people Emi interacts with are oblivious to the effect that the video has had on her reputation and professional status. It’s likely that those who even know about it don’t think of her as a human being with an identity and the ability to exercise consent (which was ignored in this case) but rather as a body placed onscreen for their voyeuristic pleasure. (Would the film have been as effective without showing us the video? I can’t decide.)

The movie feels scattered and meandering, not in a debilitating way: purposefully aimless. Sometimes the camera will follow Emi and then move away from her to capture another bit of business involving other people, such as the woman who looks right into the camera and invites the audience to eat her out (was this scripted, or simply an incident that occurred while filming in public?) or a pedestrian who’s seen berating a motorist who nearly ran him over at a crosswalk and demanding that he go ahead and finish the job.

There are also many moments when the camera moves away from ground level entirely and prowls up the face of a storefront or apartment building, showing us the architecture. This might be a comment on the anonymity of big city life, or it might be that the camera operator just likes showing us the architecture.

This is a movie with an unconventional style that could be off-putting if you’re not used to it, or if you’re overly concerned that every screen moment reinforce whatever rhetorical points you think the film is making. It seems more likely that this is a film about discoveries rather than statements, with the camera following people and then abandoning them to seek insight elsewhere, by looking into things rather than merely looking at them.

In theaters today.

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