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Autofocus

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Writer-cum-Director Paul Schrader has done an amazing job with Auto Focus, a sexually overdosed biopic based on the story of Bob Crane’s life and scandalous death. Crane, who played Hogan in the much loved television series Hogan’s Heroes, is portrayed brilliantly by actor Greg Kinnear. From the boyish charm of his early life, through his downward spiral into sexual addiction and denial, to his brutal death, Kinnear gets everything just right. Willem Dafoe is decent as John Carpenter, Crane’s questionable best friend and fellow sex addict (although it’s hard not to see the annoyingly comical Green Goblin from Spiderman whenever Dafoe gets angry!). However, the real power of this film is Schraeder’s portrayal of sexual addiction: even though there is female nudity on screen for at least half the film, it is never erotic. The sense that this is not sensual, not even sexual, but purely an addiction, is acute and overwhelming. As such, the film is dark, claustrophobic and rightly very disconcerting to watch. In short: this is a brilliant film, technically superb, but very depressing. Definitely worth seeing, but definitely not a date film!

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