By the end of New Sensations’ superb “Torn,” you, too, will risk your marriage for a chance to cheat with Remy La Croix. But you will also want to work it out with India Summer. And you’ll probably get some action on the side from Raylene, who is free-spirited.
Studio: New Sensations
Director: Eddie Powell, Jacky St. James
Starring: Steven St. Croix, Remy LaCroix, India Summer, Raylene,Tom Byron, Samantha Ryan, Chad Alva
Review by: Gram Ponante
Opening this very adult adult movie (to be released on September 3 after the kids are in school) are the words “Based On A True Story.” Writer/Co-director Jacky St. James is friends with the couple who inspired characters played by Steven St. Croix and Remy La Croix (no relation).
Drew (St. Croix) is unhappily married to Christine (India Summer). Christine is not an ice queen but is by no means a rosy-cheeked stoker of home fires, either. And prudish? Perhaps. While Christine is filled with judgment at the “phony” open marriage enjoyed by Vicky and Roy (Raylene and Tom Byron), Drew wishes he had what they have.
Into Vicky and Roy’s anniversary party steps Vicky’s niece, Mimi (Remy La Croix, captivating without being precious), a young photographer who chooses Drew for a subject. Their affair is the story of “Torn.”
Ten years ago, when porn was invented, pornographers hoping to be taken seriously created ponderous couples’ dramas featuring our favorite adult actors but now wearing business suits, conducting one-sided phone conversations about “deals,” and play-acting a version of real life that was less credible than were the adventures of the pool guy or the pizza delivery man. And the actors had the same sex that they did in every other movie, but with different lighting.
That model persists. Why are the characters often so unbelievable? I think because porn has a fantasy of real life the way real life has a fantasy of porn, like Pinocchio dreaming of being real but everyone else dreaming of animated wood.
But what St. Croix, La Croix, Summer, and Raylene do with “Torn” is such a relief from all that. Summer is cold, but not unapproachable. Raylene is an entertaining straight shooter, but neither a caricature nor comic relief. And St. Croix delivers yet another confident and unselfconscious performance in a career that has been intriguing even for porn (he’s also great with Kelli McCraty in Vivid’s “Faithless“).
It is Remy La Croix that has to be the lynchpin here, and she plays her part with subtlety, sweetness, and no sign of porny finger-biting or vocal fry.
St. James and Eddie Powell take their time with the movie, and it’s the choices they make with this simple story that set it apart. Christina spots Roy with another woman (Samantha Ryan) and is all ready to cluck triumphantly about his sham sentiments when Raylene joins the pair for a threeway.
That Vicky and Roy play an “older” couple celebrating their 17th anniversary is sweet. Numbers that high are usually only used for installments of “Gang Bang Squad.”
And while there is a narrative inevitability about an affair between Drew and Mimi, we aren’t at all sure what’s going to happen with Drew and Christina.
Ditto other flourishes of reality.
In a montage sequence of Drew’s attempts at wooing his wife, he presents her with a piece of red lingerie which she rejects, saying “I hate that color.” He is also wearing a red shirt. He lies with such facility when Christina suspects something is up; it’s chilling because it’s true. The couple has a go with reconciliation while Mimi’s roommate (Chad Alva) tries to ease her pain, like you know he always wanted to.
St. James is aiming at the couples’ market (“I don’t think it’ll be a hit with raincoaters,” she says), and “Torn” really does have something to say about infidelity that will fly in the face of porn’s often-puzzling prudishness.
I recommend this movie; it’s one you should own legally. You will want to have an affair with Remy LaCroix, and possibly even Steven St. Croix. Oddly enough, St. Croix is returning to the business after some time off and La Croix just announced her departure. We’re all glad they had this time together.