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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Kink
Kink
MPI Home Video // Unrated // February 10, 2015
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted February 25, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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The Movie:

Directed by Christina Voros (and produced by James Franco who puzzlingly gets top billing over the director on the DVD's cover art) is released, through no small coincidence, just as Fifty Shades Of Grey is all over the news. In fact that aforementioned cover art ties into that Hollywood blockbuster (‘The 51st Shade Of Grey') but this is not a glitzy, polished, big budgeted feature, it is in fact a documentary. Its subject? Those who make and produce BDSM (bondage, discipline, submission, masochism for those not paying attention) videos on the kink.com website. Now this isn't the first documentary to approach something like this: Graphic Sexual Horror covered the long, gone insex.com website and beat them to the punch by a few years, but it is likely to have more mainstream crossover appeal thanks to Mr. Franco's name being plastered all over the cover.

But is it any good? Yeah, it's quite decent actually. We journey into the kink.com headquarters, a big old building in San Francisco where a man named Peter Acworth runs the show. Peter plays tour guide and shows off the different rooms in this massive facility and explains how he has made quite a lot of money catering to the darker side of what people find arousing. From here we meet many of the men and women who perform in the videos that perform in the videos produced there, both gay and straight. These performers are interviewed as are a lot of the behind the scenes players: directors, production assistants, casting directors.

Throughout these interviews we learn that a huge part of kink.com's ethos is to only involve themselves with people who are genuinely ‘into the lifestyle.' This means screening potential performers to make sure that not only do they know what they're getting into but that they want to be involved not only for the paycheck, but for the satisfaction that they should theoretically get from their work. This adherence to legitimacy should in turn result in videos best described as authentic and that authenticity should in turn be reflected in the product, something presumably not lost on the website's paying customers.

Though it stops short of going into hardcore territory the documentary leaves very little to the imagination, but that's to its credit. Where a Hollywood production would stop short of showing the genuine pain that can and is involved in all of this, Kink does not. People get hurt doing this and while it's all willing and consensual and there are precautions in place and procedures to follow, kink.com is in the business of mixing pleasure and pain. To gloss over this aspect of things would be painting an inaccurate portrait of what this is all about. So if you're going to give this disc a spin (or check it out via whatever streaming service you may prefer) be prepared for some pretty graphic depictions of slapping, flogging, bondage and fetish-play.

As all of this plays out we learn why various participants got involved in the business. Some got into it out of boredom, others out of a need to explore non-conformist lifestyles and others simply because they enjoy it and derive pleasure from it. While that's explained in a fair bit of detail the documentary keeps returning, visually and thematically, to the business side of things. As various acts of what most would consider to be debauchery are being performed in front of the cameras, we see the people working behind the scenes discussing in completely nonchalant ways what they had for dinner. We see Acworth and his peers at a board meeting talking about sales figures and what videos are outperforming other videos and why. It's an odd job, an unorthodox job, but it's a job nevertheless and Kink does a fine job of exploring and explaining the ideologies and mindsets of those involved in in from all aspects.

The DVD:

Video:

Kink arrives on DVD framed at 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen and for the most part it looks just fine. Shot on digital video there are obviously no print damage issues. Minor compression artifacts do pop up in some of the darker scenes but this is quibbling, most won't notice them. Colors are reproduced well and skin tones look nice and natural (though sometimes they appear more red than pink after certain activities have been performed!) and black levels are solid.

Sound:

The only audio option is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, there are no alternate language options but English subtitles are provided. Audio quality does bounce around a little bit from scene to scene with the more traditionally shot interviews sounding crystal clear and some of the footage documenting the session work spiking just a tiny bit. Overall though? No real problems here, this track gets the job done.

Extras:

Extras are slim, just a trailer, menus and chapter selection.

Final Thoughts:

Kink is an interesting documentary that treats its subject with respect while simultaneously not glossing over some of the more unusual aspects of its topic. The presentation is light on extras but the movie is one worth seeing. Recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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