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#TIFF19 Review: The Last Porno Show (Contemporary World Cinema)

September 5, 2019

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

When his estranged father Al (Christian Aldo) dies, struggling actor Wayne (Nathanael Chadwick) inherits his dad’s business, a rundown porno theatre. Wayne initially plans to sell the property, which has an apartment above it where tenants still live. But the more time he spends in the building, the more Wayne starts to emulate his father, which helps him land a role in a sleazy feature film project, and also helps him come to terms with his unusual upbringing. The film is partially told through flashbacks to Wayne as a kid (Weston Warkinton), when he lived with his father above the theatre.

The sophomore film from Toronto writer-director Kire Paputts, who was also at the festival in 2015 with his excellent debut feature The Rainbow Kid, The Last Porno Show is an oddly moving dramedy that doesn’t back away from some extreme sexual content. The film mainly serves as a great acting showcase for Chadwick, who is in some ways playing different characters as the lines between acting and reality, and fantasy and memory, become increasingly blurred in his life. As Wayne morphs into a demented version of his father, The Last Porno Show becomes an often shocking and at times surreal look at overcoming childhood trauma that doesn’t shy away from the perverse but also, in its own weird way, has a good deal of heart.

The film boasts a great musical score by the band Morricone Youth, and it’s nice to see The Rainbow Kid star Dylan Harman in a supporting role as a young man who comes to clean the theatre. It won’t be for everyone, and I’m anticipating at least a few walkouts, but for my money The Last Porno Show is a really solid second film from Paputts that represents an promising continuation of his career.

Nathaniel Chadwick in The Last Porno Show

Public Screenings:

Tuesday, September 10th – 9:00 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

Thursday, September 12th – 9:00 PM at Jackman Hall (AGO)

Friday, September 13th – 3:30 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

 

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