Rated X

Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez

Director: Emilio Estevez

Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez star as brothers Jim and Artie Mitchell in this story of the real life porn kings. The film briefly touches on their childhood and then jumps to the early 1970’s when college student Jim decides to get into making porno movies as a way to fund his directing career. His brother Artie soon joins him in his venture and they decide to show their films in their own theatre to make even more money.

As the years go by they get constantly busted by the police, they fight in the courts for their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and they make the landmark artisitic porno movie BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR, which also launches the career of Marylin Chambers. When their porno business declines due to the fact that watching hardcore sex films in a cinema was superceded by watching them on video in private they turn their theatre into a venue for live sex shows.

Throughout all of these events though the Mitchell brothers’ obsession with using recreational drugs, specifically snorting cocaine grows to a disproportionate level and everything else seems to be going on in the background as they inhale line after line of coke. Jim, the older of the two brothers, decides to kick the habit as he sees his health deteriorate and so virtually isolates himself for 6 months, goes cold turkey and completely cleans-up. He returns to the theatre to find it run down as Artie continues to snort his way through the day. Jim pulls the theatre back into shape and a now paranoid Artie, his brain fried by coke, becomes a danger to his wife and children threatening both his ex-wife and his brother and thinking nothing of wildly shooting his gun.

Jim follows his late father’s advice and decides to take matters into his own hands in order to protect their family from his brother.

RATED X is based on a true story and is a social comment on how the use of drugs can get totally out of hand and at one point it seems like every few seconds someone is doing a line of coke. The hardcore porn business the brothers run is of course apparent quite a lot of the time but is totally overshadowed by their excessive and constant use of drugs.

RATED X is an interesting film as it looks at what is now a piece of real life history. The story also serves as a reminder of how dangerous and controlling the use of drugs can be.

3 out of 6 stars