“Hustler White” (Here TV!) is quite an experience. It is not a movie you will like but it is one you [probably will never forget. There is not much plot (as is typical of Bruce LaBruce films). The story of a German “queen” who is obsessed with a hustler who isn’t quite sure if he is or if he isn’t gay is what the film is about. Tony Ward (One of Madonna’s exes) is Monty, the hustler and LaBruce, himself, plays the German, Jurgen. The scene of the action is Santa Monica Boulevard where johns and their pimps and their entourages play sidebars to Jurgen and Monty.
Let me start by saying this is a very strange film bordering on the bizarre which s too bad because the themes are universal and the plot development hits the nail right on the head. The opening scene is a harbinger of things to come and once you get through the blood and the gore, you have an interesting film, to say the least. As anti-establishment and anti-everything that LaBruce is, I love his films for their sheer flamboyance. When he makes a movie he throws everything at the audience, sometimes too much so.
LaBruce succeeds as a director but his acting falls short. To put it bluntly the acting in the film is all rather amateurish. The film has plenty of shocks—frontal nudity, graphic S and M, sexual and realistic scenes that are outrageous. This is not a movie for the queasy.
After the foot amputation scene in the very beginning the story just bounces around Hollywood, looking at the way hustlers do business and then moves into the development of the two main characters. I frankly expected a movie like this about the life of street hustlers to be both smutty and gross but I was wrong. Disgusting it is, smutty it is not. This is one of those in your face movies where nothing is left to the imagination. One review I read called the film avant-garde porn which is a flattering way of saying that you will see artistic sex.
Now That I have torn the film apart, I do have some good things to say. Bruce LaBruce loves to shock and he does, but beneath that shock there is a story of the way we live in a hedonistic society. Almost Fellini-like with its menagerie of really strange cast members, “Hustler White” pleases where so many other films do not. It shows the reality and the ugliness of a world that lives for sex in all of its varieties. Some of the film is quite frightening because it makes us confront strange sexual practices that even though we know that they exist we have never actually seen before.
Jurgen’s pursuit of Monty is just a cat and mouse game and the film shows us the unimportance of sexual trysts. When sex can be bartered like a pound of potatoes, it loses the meaning that it was originally intended it have.
I hate to Say it for being criticized by my fellow critics but I liked “Hustler White”. Its grittiness and realism said a lot to me and I respect innovation. Sure it is flawed but isn’t everyone?