King Cobra **1/2

2.5 out of 5 stars

This film, based on a real life murder in the gay porn industry, has all the ingredients for a salacious campy Lifetime TV movie. For a ‘gay film’, this is decently put together with an unusually starry cast; but as crime drama, it is fairly conventional, with equal parts tenderness (scenes between the young aspiring pornstar and his mentor) and clunkiness (the tonally awkward ending could have been better handled). Next to a maniacal James Franco, Christian Slater, playing gay for the first time I think, is a masterclass in suppressed desires and creepiness. With a cast that also includes Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald in minor roles and which brings along box office clout and curiosity value, it also inadvertently causes distraction when lesser known faces would be preferable. Otherwise, the central performance by Garrett Clayton (breaking away from his Disney past and making the best of his boyish features and charm) anchors the film well and though this may have a passing resemblance to Boogie Nights, it remains just a serviceable piece of drama for a niche market.


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