Cinemax Friday: Boulevard (1994, directed by Penelope Buitenhuis)


Having been knocked up by her abusive boyfriend, Jennefer (Kari Wuhrer) gives up her baby for adoption and then promptly gets the Hell out of town.  She runs away to the hard streets of Toronto, where she meets and moves in with a prostitute, the worldly Ola (Rae Dawn Chong).  Ola shows Jennefer how to survive in the big city and the two of them bond over how terrible their circumstances are, eventually becoming lovers.  Eventually, in order to make ends meet, Jennefer becomes a prostitute herself.  However, this means dealing with Ola’s sadistic pimp, Hassan (Lou Diamond Phillips), who is the type of creep who likes to practice his golf swing in between beating people to death.  Detective McLaren (Lance Henriksen) wants to take Hassan down but Jennefer knows better than to work with the cops.  Meanwhile, Hassan is growing more unstable and dangerous and Jennefer’s ex-boyfriend, J-Rod (Joel Bissonette), has shown up in town.

Boulevard is an interesting film.  It’s undeniably sleazy and exploitative, with the camera lingering over every sex scene and act of violence.  At the same time, it’s also a film with a conscience.  It’s on the side of the girls on the boulevard and it makes clear that every man who claims to be on their side, with the exception of McLaren, is actually a dangerous pervert.  Jennefer and Ola can only depend on each other.  Kari Wuhrer was rarely cast for her acting ability but she gives a surprisingly good performance in Boulevard and she’s matched every step of the way by Rae Dawn Chong.  Lou Diamond Phillips appears to be having fun getting to play a villainous role.  In fact, he has too much fun and goes so overboard that he sometimes takes you out of the reality of the situation.  Far better is Lance Henriksen, whose seen-it-all persona is used to good effect in Boulevard.

Boulevard is a sleazy film with a heart.

One response to “Cinemax Friday: Boulevard (1994, directed by Penelope Buitenhuis)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 8/3/20 — 8/9/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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