Running time: 75 MIN.
A minor gay porn star gets a postmodern, post-mortem tribute of sorts in “Finished,” an essay film so dry and detached it would surely have scandalized its subject’s former employers. While the nonerotic, uninvolving approach is no doubt a big part of helmer William E. Jones’ point, it makes for a film so narrowly conceptual as to defy interest beyond specialized gay and experimental sites.
Pic’s imagery mainly offers distanced, liveaction views of cityscapes and other scenery, particularly around L.A. and Montreal, interspersed with occasional blowups of faces and other nonspecific flesh from porn films. Its soundtrack consists of Jones reading a memoir of his fascination with the life and early death of Alan Lambert, who committed suicide while still in his 20s after an offandon career in the L.A. skin trade.
Jones’ investigations of Lambert’s life, which included visiting his hometown of Montreal and some not always productive attempts at interviewing his family and few friends, revealed someone other than a hunky airhead. Lambert was a Marxist who saw himself in the vanguard of a world revolution. Alas, those convictions weren’t enough to offset his passivity and narcissism; he recoiled at the prospect of life after youth’s beauty had fled.
Though the personality revealed here in some ways mirrors the filmmaker’s own cerebral displacement, the ostensible subject and that ironic, selfreflexive subtext don’t come close to sustaining interest at feature length. Jones’ deliberately measured and monotonous commentary might have made a fairly interesting magazine article; it has no obvious reason for being a film.