The mid-sixties was a time of political and cultural revolution in the United States, and the revolution also extended to cinema. Inspired by the films of Europe and Japan, movies were becoming more honest and realistic, moving away from Hollywood artificiality. This movement started in the underground film movement, and the leader was Andy Warhol, and his young protégé, Paul Morrissey, who directed this film.
The story deals with a young hustler named Joe (Joe Dallesandro) as we follow him through his daily life. He meets an artist, teaches young hustlers the tricks of the trade, and has a romp with a couple of drag queens. It culminates with his wife having sex with a woman while he falls asleep on the bed, bored. That’s basically the whole movie, with no linear storyline, but then again that’s part of the appeal. The scenes are long and rambling with dialogue, filled with sex and truth, although it does sometimes get to the point of rambling. Thankfully the characters are very interesting, particularly the two drag queens Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling (who actually looks like a woman). It’s style is very self conscious. There are a lot of cuts in the film that discontinue and alienate the audience, reminding you that you’re watching the film the whole time. The film is an important and artistic achievement, and should be viewed by all.