The Life and Death of a Porno Gang Blu-ray Review


Written by TGM

Blu-ray released by Synapse Films

 

 

Written & Directed by Mladen Djordjevic
2009, Region A, 113 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on August 14th, 2012

 

Starring:

Mihajlo Jovanovic as Marko
Ana Acimovic as Una
Predrag Damnjanovic as Vanja
Radivoj Knezevic as Johnny
Srdjan Jovanovic as Maks
Ivan Djordjevic as Ceca
Bojan Zogovic as Dragan
Natasa Miljus as Sofija

 

Review:

 

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang is a hilarious slap-stick yarn full of hope and whimsy, reminiscent of the raucously innocent days of the upbeat goofball hilarity contained within your typical episode of Three’s Company.  Scratch that.  It’s actually none of these things.  It’s a seedy, gritty, disturbingly violent foray into the  darkest underbelly of the Serbian porn scene.  It tells the tale of Marko, a young idealistic filmmaker who quickly finds his wide-eyed optimism squashed when he can’t secure funding for his “important” film.  A few unfortunate chance encounters later, and he finds himself selling out, going from shooting inane commercials to directing porn. 

Marko soon finds that frittering away a local smut magnates’ money to secretly fund his avant-garde artsy side-project is not a wise career choice.  Before suffering retribution at the hands of his angry porno boss, he assembles a traveling X-rated carnival barking cabaret troupe consisting of HIV+ porn stars, sad-sack roadie misfits, neo-hippies, and his  failed-legit-actress girlfriend.  The plan is to hit the open road, set up shop in the woods bordering a random village, and put on a kinky stage show of sex, domination, bestiality, and violence.  Of course, other than a meager handful of outlier perverts, the simple locals of the surrounding rural towns find these strangers and their twisted peep show about as appetizing as a plague encrusted shit sandwich, shoeing Marko and his band of sexual deviants off their land with shotguns and rifles, but they might as well have been pitchforks and torches.

Increasingly desperate to raise some cash, Marko sinks even lower into depravity by reluctantly shooting snuff films for a ruthless German entrepreneur who caters in such things.  A minute or two of soul searching is all it takes for him to agree to direct a bevy of desperate individuals that sign up to be murdered on camera.  One bad decision after another compounds matters and sends him inching ever so closer to hell.   The premise works, primarily because Marko is somewhat likeable and even relatable.  Actor Mihajlo Jovanovic, a Balkan version of Cillian Murphy, manages to convey optimism, eagerness, reluctance, perversion, disgust, acceptance, contempt, and regret throughout the entire arc of Marko’s moral bankruptcy.  Thanks to the pseudo-documentary style in which the film was shot, The Life and Death of a Porno Gang makes you feel like you’re playing a pivotal role yourself, that of the silent voyeur, helpless to persuade your friends from spiraling out of control.

 

 

Video and Audio:

 

The video quality is rather ordinary, but not surprising considering that the film was shot in DV and upscaled to as close to high definition that it could possibly become.  The lack of detail and sharpness actually benefit the source material, adding a layer of seediness to the whole affair.

The audio is unremarkable.  Dialogue tracks are clear, concise, and never muddled by ambient noise.  Your surrounds will be relatively non-existent.

 

Special Features:

 

Despite its controversial subject matter, The Life and Death of a Porno Gang is deserving of only an R rating, but what it lacks in truly explicit content is more than made up for with the inclusion of the 101 minute documentary Made In Serbia as a special feature of this release.   Made In Serbia chronicles the ins-and-outs of the home-grown Siberian porn market, genital warts and all.

 

Grades:

 

Movie:
Video:
Audio:
Features:
Overall:

 

 

*Note: The screenshots on this page are not a reflection of the Blu-ray image. They are publicity stills.*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to comment on this review? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.

 

 

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