Inspired by Billy Wilder`s classic Sunset Boulevard, Hustler White explores the sordid lives of various characters throughout the threshold of Santa Monica Blvd. While I can certainly appreciate the homage to classic Hollywood cinema, I am actually glad that LaBruce decided to take a completely different direction in this controversial low-budget flick.
One may be more reminded of early John Waters or Paul Morrissey films with all the shady going-ons, quirkiness & explicit montages. Viewers who are easily offended or gravitate towards the mainstream cinema should steer clear of Hustler White for a number of reasons. Be for warned: HW reeks of post-modern sleaze as it delves into the seedy underground of male hustling, johns, & pornography. There are several VERY graphic scenes of illicit activity which feature full-frontal nudity, a amputee sex scene, & a gang rape. Sadly, not the typical film you would introduce to your fellow Sunday school members nor likely the flick to play for dear old mom or dad but an interesting work indeed.
The film opens up with Monty Ward narrating the story as he appears to be laying face down in someones jacuzzi. He gives his word of honor (if you're buying into his story at all) that his confessions are the truth, the whole truth, & nothing up your butt. Naturally, we are lead to believe the two-bit hustler is already dead which sets the stage for the next 80 odd minutes of human depravity in it's most campy yet utterly raw form. You should be full aware that all bets are off & you're in for one hell of a ride. Contrary to what one a reviewer suggested on the liner notes of the DVD, this is NOT a light-hearted romantic comedy to place beside the Julia Roberts vehicle.
Monty Ward AKA Montgomery Ward is a street smart hustler who obviously has been around the block a few times & could tell you just about anything regarding the sleazy world of hustling if offered the right amount of money. But make no mistake, Ward is certainly no angel by any means & doesn't exactly have a heart of gold. Within the first few minutes of HW, he steals a john's wallet & then proceeds to make quick getaway by stealing the man's vehicle. While obviously in a hurry & needing to make a quick dash, he then proceeds to run over another hustler's leg by accident. In this hilarious montage, he drives over the poor guy's leg numerous times before managing to evacuate the parking lot.
Jurgen Anger (no relation to Kenneth Anger) has just arrived on the scene & immediately sets his eyes on Montgomery after seeing him shirtless on Santa Monica Blvd . Anger is a self-absorbed writer who has made the journey to Cali in hopes of writing a novel on the life of hustlers. After spotting Monty, he desperately tries to scope the boulevard in hopes of returning a bloodied t-shirt found tied to a fence & discussing the possibilities of purchasing Monty's services for one afternoon of complete research. As one can easily predict from the beginning, Jurgen is totally infatuated with the hustler & will stop at nothing until their paths cross.
As luck or fate might have it, the two eventually meet & Monty agrees to help Anger after being offered a lump sum of $1000 for his wealth of knowledge. It would seem that fate has smiled upon the two & things should run fairly smoothly from here. Right? So how did Monty end up face down in the jacuzzi after all? I'm not telling.
Perhaps more than just about any film I've experienced up until, HW is one of the more bizarre if not insanely funny trips. If you're not somehow offended after viewing, there may not be much help for you at all. On the other hand, have at it if you're in the mood for really deviant post-modern sleaze which carefully examines the hedonistic lifestyle that some live on a day-to-day basis.
A few bizarre (or fun) montages: A street hustler's services are purchased by a local mortician. The mortician proceeds to dress in drag while mummifying our hustler completely with duck tape. Another young hustler arrives on the scene of an all-black male escort service for an interview & is raped by nine endowed black males within 30 minutes. The leader of the organization proceeds to tell the young man, "that was not a rape. merely an exercise in black power." Perhaps the razor blade scene with the "Versace Model" made me cringe the most however.
Again, this is NOT a film for all tastes. Having said that, do yourself a huge favor & look for something else if you're seeking the next Oscar caliber film. Cheers!
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
I've spent years trying to make others happy & not really focusing on what's most important in my own life. Having said that, my own health & security are paramount so now I'm more … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Hustler White is a 1996 film by Bruce LaBruce and Rick Castro. It stars Tony Ward and LaBruce in an addition to the Queer Cinema canon, which is also an homage to classic Hollywood cinema. In a plot reminiscent of Sunset Boulevard, Hustler White transposes the action from the silver screen's old movie backlots to contemporary male prostitution and the porn industry.
The film, which like all of LaBruce's work is sexually explicit, includes a controversial amputee sex scene.