30 May 2003 | Nodriesrespect
Slave to Love
Former porn performer Jonathan Morgan's high watermark as a director, following promising early works such as his self-proclaimed 'dark trilogy' of CRAZED, INDIGO DELTA and PORNOGOTHIC. To the novice viewer this may seem like yet another explicit rendition of Adrian Lyne's upmarket masturbatory fantasy NINE AND A HALF WEEKS. Even more experienced hardcore video enthusiasts may think they have this one pegged as the umpteenth (then real life couple) Missy & Mickey vehicle. They'd both be right, yet in either case you would not be getting the full story.
Gorgeous blonde Missy, my personal favorite of Wicked's contract girls, portrays a painter in dire need of commercial success since her husband's pre-credits suicide. And yes, that is helmer Morgan making a cameo appearance as the life-ending spouse there. In search of a cheaper apartment (and a chance for writer Martin Brimmer to illustrate his cinema literacy with a nod to LAST TANGO IN Paris) she meets the mysterious Mickey who draws her into an erotic affair where personal boundaries will fade, leading to the inevitable downbeat conclusion which sheds new light on the opening scene, bringing the story full circle with a narrative elegance rarely encountered in adult features as of late.
While Morgan and Brimmer briefly explore a number of side streets to their storyline such as Mickey's deliberately vague business deal with a bunch of menacing mobsters, the meat (so to speak...) is supplied by the consecutive sex scenes involving either Missy or Mickey or both. As in Paul Thomas's original MASSEUSE, Morgan proves that centering an erotic film around a single predominantly sexual relationship can turn out to be far more stimulating than the group grope extravaganzas the industry more commonly lays (!) upon its audiences these days. As a result, every single encounter seemingly flows naturally from the one that precedes it, leaving the viewer with an impression of smooth fluency rather than the choppy feel from alternating a 'commercial' scene with a bit of plot exposition one is more accustomed to from present day porn. Highlights include the couple's time bomb tryst - in that it progressively builds to an explosive climax - with hooker Kelsey Heart (part of the memorable orgy sequence in Veronica Hart's engrossing TAKEN) and Missy's climactic mauling at the hands, mouths and more of Mr. Marcus, Michael J. Coxx, Ian Daniels and Kyle Stone.
Mickey has firmly established himself over the years as a brooding, menacing leading man in the Jamie Gillis vein (even portraying the legendary stud's younger incarnation in Hart's clever SUNSET STRIPPED, considerably more than just another porno take on SUNSET BOULEVARD), able to switch from delicacy to danger at a moment's notice. But this is first and foremost Missy's show and she really comes into her own as an actress here. Known as one of the genre's most versatile performers who can effortlessly go from bitchy dominatrix to simpering submissive and back again, she brings an aching vulnerability to her character. You just know she's getting in way over her head and, another rarity in adult, you'll actually find yourself caring for her plight. The couple's palpable chemistry really makes their carnal clinches sizzle. Truly Morgan's best, also from a production point of view with excellent photography by Jake Jacobs and a pleasant song-filled soundtrack to support, complement and comment on the action.