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Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Story-driven
Date of Production: September 26, 2018
Director: Angie Rowntree
Cast: Delirious Hunter, JoeyDotRawr, Ava Mir-Ausziehen, Cat Belmont, Argus Hammer
Length: 1 Hour 4 Minutes
Extras: Reviewed as a VOD - No extras in this version
Audio/Video Quality: Professionally produced HD sound and 1080P video.
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Finally, a real movie that’s not afraid to show sexually explicit love scenes. Or maybe it’s a pornographic film that pushes the boundaries of plot and dialogue to be on par with mainstream filmmaking. Either way, this is something special.
Invictus follows Jane Darling (Delirious Hunter), a scientist on her quest to deliver a data stick that represents hope in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Along the way, she meets Paul Young (JoeyDotRawr), a scavenger and former newsman who persistently follows her like a loyal puppy.
Set after “the fall,” Invictus draws inspiration from dystopian stories from Mad Max to the Fallout games. It sports the common tropes: wild bandits, decaying cities, and moody characters reflecting on a time before the calamity.
Central to the plot is a sort of love-triangle romance that develops between Young, Darling and the memory of Jane’s missing girlfriend, Ava (Ava Mir-Ausziehen). While it feels unnecessary to the overarching story, the romance acts as a needed plot device to facilitate the three sex scenes.
Visually, Invictus is stunning. It is abundantly clear that this was a major production. It is filmed across multiple locations that scream of post-apocalyptica. There’s abandoned airfields, rotting vehicles, cracked roads and empty cityscapes all serving to immerse the viewer in director Angie Rowntree’s world.
Fashion is spot-on too, most notably through Hunter’s look. She’s got this Tomb Raider-esque look that is put together from a hodge-podge of articles that were no doubt scavenged from the wasteland. The coup de grâce: her mismatched boots complete the look. Hunter’s hair and makeup deserve special credit too. She sports intentionally frizzy and pulled-back hair with minimal makeup. It has always bothered me to see how remarkably put-together people can be in apocalyptic movies. This time, we have a look that strikes the balance between believable and sexy. It works.
There is also a freely available R-rated version that only cuts maybe twelve minutes from the total runtime. All three love scenes are included, but cut so as not to show explicit sexual contact. It stands on its own as a solid B-movie that one might find on Cinemax or hidden in the erotic section of Netflix. And even in the R-cut, the sex scenes are quite steamy and revealing.
Exhausted and winding down by a campfire, our travelers discuss what they miss most about the old world. As she drifts off to sleep, Darling dreams of what she misses the most: Ava, her lover.
A perfect dream sequence, the girl-girl romp is an exercise in minimalism. Filmed with high contrast lighting and a blacked out room, the only elements visible are the bed and two lovers at play.
Working that contrast, Rowntree and crew strike a balance between light and deep shadows, planting the scene firmly in artcore and glamcore territory. The dark appeal is beautiful and feels a bit like the inverse of a white-on-white Greg Lansky scene.
This feels like a real Hollywood sex scene complete with delicate music and so much romance. Mir-Ausziehen and Hunter are masters of foreplay building from hugs and kisses to intense and skillful fingering. It is spellbinding. Interestingly for a girl-girl scene, there’s no oral.
Delirious from his wounds, Paul finds himself hallucinating as he phases in and out of consciousness. One thought keeps him going--the fantasy of a passionate sexual experience with Darling before the fall.
Cue the romance as Young worships Darling’s body with delicate kisses from head to down below. Dreamy music plays while the camera cuts and swings about with a hazy vignette focus. You can almost feel the man drifting beyond the veil, anchored to life by Jane Darling’s extraordinary sexuality.
It’s a long scene that blends slow-motion penetration with fantastic cuts and a magical oral sequence. You can see the influence of art-porn legend Michael Ninn who is specifically thanked in the credits.
With Young on the mend, the companions continue their quest to the next campsite where Darling reveals her true feelings: “I’m really glad I didn’t shoot you,” before taking the initiative and moving in for a kiss.
Set outdoors amidst lush greenery, the scene progresses much like Young’s dream sequence with kisses leading to oral sex and some stunning cowgirl shots. Young gets a happy ending--with a twist.
As our heroes revel in post-orgasmic bliss, a fanatic attempts to compromise Darling’s mission and confronts the naked duo. It doesn’t end well for him.
Invictus works as a standalone movie and raises fan expectations for story-driven pornogaphy. It’s a well-written sci-fi piece set in a beautifully filmed dystopia.
We’re all familiar with the stereotype that pornstars can’t act. Were that true, such a dialogue-laden film would fall flat. Although some of the lines feel forced, robotic even, JoeyDotRawr and Hunter share a certain kinship that resonates onscreen. You can see trust grow and boundaries gradually lower between the two.
Porn rarely takes itself seriously, but Invictus comes with a message. Much like Nine Inch Nails’ concept-album Year Zero, Rowntree imagines a future world where spectres like climate change and fanaticism are left unchecked. Its bleak future serves as a warning and packs a thinly veiled political punch, a bold and rare move for a XXX film.
It’s also nice to see unfamiliar locations. So much pornography is shot in the same old places, giving many scenes a sort of recycled feel to them. In the world of Invictus, all of the dirty and torn down locations are, to porn fans, fresh and new.
Invictus is an ambitious project and ranks among the best adult feature films of the year. Expect it to make the rounds snagging nominations next award season. Highly Recommended.