Auto Focus


This fascinating bio-pic traces Hogan’s Heroes star Bob Crane’s curious transformation from mild-mannered family man to sex-crazed amateur porn producer. With his creepy pal John (Willem Dafoe) in perpetual tow, Crane (Greg Kinnear) uses his fame to lure women to wild orgies he captures on tape. Ultimately, his refusal to acknowledge the serious conflict between his personal and professional lives results in the demise of both, and eventually leads to his own brutal murder. Although it’s an intriguing portrait of a man consumed by his sexual appetites, director Paul Schrader fails to explore the roots of Crane’s obsession, leaving viewers to speculate for themselves. Nevertheless, Kinnear does a stellar job evoking the innate irony of a man who considers himself a decent fellow even as he partakes in one debauched act after another.

Grade: B+

Kinsey Scale: 2 (The symbiotic relationship between Crane and John resembles that of a domestic couple, and the film implies that John may have been bisexual and in love with Crane. Kinnear played Jack Nicholson’s gay neighbor in As Good as it Gets. Schrader wrote the screenplay for Taxi Driver, in which 14-year-old Jodie Foster played a prostitute, and American Gigolo.)

(Appeared in Q Syndicate)