Philip Brocklehurst, Jonathan Sky-O'Brien, Yenni Rocha
Diving into the issue of sexual desensitization is neither a new concept for film or an old one. Perhaps unexplored by the mainstream, would be the best description for the topic. Back in the day, kids would often spent their time searching for beat-up issues of Playboy magazines or the like, or scrub through an old VHS tape looking to pause any image that contained even an exposed shoulder. Induction into the real world of sex was often marred by blunders, really quick performances, and loads of nay-saying from most adults. Yet it was so damn exciting, wasn't it?
Today the internet has changed the sexual landscape and behaviors of the young and old alike. Almost instantly you can find the most normal, fantastical, erotic, and even gross sexual imagery in infinite amounts. The result is catastrophic, and not going away any time soon. Excitement, anticipation, and at the extreme, even sex itself can become boring and trite to those addicted to internet porn. This goes hand in hand with the general lessening of real-life social interactions, but "Excitement" focuses on sexual appetites mainly - and what's happening to the people addicted. Normal sex is just not enough anymore for these people. A real-life sexual relationship for them can, and is, rather boring.
This is a brave topic for an indie filmmaker, as an arthouse/experimental film its certainly even more daunting. But the biggest issue with "Excitement" is that it doesn't take into account the very message it's trying to send out. Its core concepts are desensitization and boredom; yet instead of trying to engage an audience, it itself is purposefully desensitizing and boring. Even the sexual imagery within the film, and there is quite a lot of it, quickly discards its effects because of its constant use. Philip Brocklehurst and his crew quickly fall into the very category they're trying to bring to light. The real comedy in this film is that the main character, who spends most of the film surfing porn sites, quickly becomes a shining example of the problem this film aims to address. Essentially until the last act of the film, he's boring, he's inanimate and just doesn't draw attention. I'm pretty sure that's the point of the movie, but most will never realize that because they won't stick around.
The majority of this film, in all it's 90-minute glory, is a shot of Montgomery. He's seated in front of a screen watching porn. Never mind the blandness of the shot itself, what's irritating is that a single static shot, wiggles and wobbles at even the slightest nudge in the surrounding atmosphere. You would figure that Brocklehurst could at least make that single static shot a good one, since it's featured through the entire film. But nope. One-shot. One static, non-moving shot couldn't be put to rest properly.
Clearly, by now you're wondering what I did enjoy since I didn't rate "Excitement" with the dreaded half star review. Mostly, the good stuff comes during the final act. A couple of interview segments and Montgomery himself, finally doing something more than just staring. Had the film been more of that, and less of what it mostly is, well reader, that's another story. And don't get me wrong, I totally understand the purpose of the film. I completely get the message. I just don't agree with most of the delivery. Even experimental movies try to gain the attention of their audience. Usually through weird imagery, sounds, and the like. Here however, it's literally just a static shot of a guy watching porn. The sprinklings of interviewees and a final bout of animation from the leading character, just wasn't enough for me. Even the softcore porn in this title didn't make for an interesting movie. As "Excitement" points out, I could find that anywhere. And yet... I can't fault this troupe for doing something different. It just didn't work, for me anyhow.
"Excitement" will probably alienate most of its viewers well before the point of the film has time to solidify. Styles of film vary wildly but one thing that holds true is this. Without an audience, it doesn't matter how experimental or important the message. For those who are really interested in the subject matter, fast forward until the final act and you may find some of what you're looking for. Being brave and different is commendable, so long as you remember it's the audience that has to sit through it - or hit the stop button.