May 5, 2017

The Darker Side of Desire, from Sweet Sinner and Jacky St James


Time: 2:37, Director: Jacky St James, Date: 2017

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: IAFD, Hot Movies For Her, Rich Moreland's Website

Cast: Cassidy Klein (26yo), Mickey Mod, Cherie DeVille (39yo), Tommy Pistol (41yo), Gia Paige (27yo), James Deen (31yo), Riley Cruise, and Michael Vegas

Source: 1920×1080 MP4 downloaded from the Mile High Media subscription site

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance


Is it fair to compare this movie to The Submission of Emma Marx? No, of course not. Emma Marx is one of the best pornos ever made and a great movie period. Still, the comparison is inevitable. Jacky St James has made other BDSM-themed movies beside those in the Emma Marx series, such as Restraint. But this is the first (allegedly) story-based movie about BDSM since the stunning conclusion to the Emma Marx trilogy, and in many ways the plot is similar. Natalie (Cassidy Klein) has long had dreams and fantasies about being dominated, but she has for just as long struggled with them. And now, at the beginning of what looks like a promising relationship with Bryce (Mickey Mod), she is wondering whether to share her fantasies with him and risk rejection, or just to keep quiet. It's hard to imagine a more promising story.

So, how is Darker Side? Not great, we're afraid. The first problem is that far too little time is actually devoted to the story: fifteen minutes in a movie that is over two and a half hours long. OK, so, again, it's not really fair to compare. But, just for some context, there's more time than that between the first two sex scenes in Emma Marx (which, overall, spends over fifty minutes just on the story, out of just over two hours). But, even without making comparisons, it seems pretty obvious that fifteen minutes isn't nearly enough time to develop the characters and allow us to get into their heads. It's really too bad, because, as we said, there's a lot of promise in the story.

The second problem, which isn't unrelated to the first, is that, by and large, the sex scenes are way too long. The second, with Cherie DeVille and Tommy Pistol, is a good example. The scene (a dream Natalie is having) begins with some BDSM. The way Cherie and Tommy talk to each other is really terrific, and the play, while hardly heavy, is hot and convincing. But after 22 minutes of that, they move into genital sex, and that lasts almost another 17 minutes. Why? We'd have been all for some quick fucking or whatever, but the scene would have been much more effective had the focus been kept on the BDSM, which is what is actually relevant to the story.

Maybe most disappointing, to us, though, was the fourth scene, featuring Natalie's friend Robin (Riley Cruise), who thinks BDSM is anti-feminist. Her boyfriend (Michael Vegas) expresses some shock that she harbors such thoughts and volunteers to be tied up and dominated. Now, it hardly needs saying that female domination that isn't cartoonish is hard to find in the world of porn, so we were thrilled that St James was now going to include some of it. But the opportunity is squandered. There's hardly any BDSM here at all. Rather, what we get is relatively conventional sex, but with Vegas's legs---just his legs, not his arms—loosely tied to the bed. And then, at the end, he unties himself so he can "take the power back". It's as if the idea of female domination can't quite be tolerated.

We know we're being very critical. By no means is this a bad movie, and there are aspects of it that are quite good. The first sex scene, with Cassidy Klein and Mickey Mod, is terrific, though, ironically, it's the only one of the five scenes that doesn't involve BDSM. The sex is passionate and convincing, and both Cassidy and Mickey do a great job staying in role. Indeed, we thought they were both excellent, overall, in the lead roles, and the supporting cast do a fine job, too. Another plus is that the BDSM parts of the three BDSM-themed scenes are very good. And the camera work, for the most part, is very strong, especially in the last scene. But, even with all those positives, the lack of attention to the story and the overly long sex scenes—not to mention the presence of James Deen, whom we normally just do not watch—left us a bit cold.

Jacky St James has proven several times she can make really fantastic movies. Is it greedy to want more of them? It's not that we haven't appreciated many of the collections of vignettes she has made. But what makes her a special director is her ability to weave hot sex into engaging, even thought-provoking, stories. We do hope that Sweet Sinner, and their parent company Mile High Media, will actually give St James the freedom to do what she does so well. We understand that this means being willing to commit the time and therefore the money that is required to tell stories, rather than to settle for a mere gesture in that direction. But if you want a product that people will actually pay for—if you want to offer people something that isn't available on the tube sites—then it seems to me that you need to give them something that isn't just better but something that is qualitatively different. Like, oh, The Submission of Emma Marx.

Scene 1: Cassidy Klein and Mickey Mod (♀♂)


Time: 23:00

Female Orgasm: Multiple, Cumshot: Stomach

Features: Cunnilingus Orgasm

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance

(Cassidy Klein) and Bryce (Mickey Mod) have sex for the first time, on someone or other's couch.

We did really appreciate the way they played their roles in this scene, talking to each other and showing the kind of excitement you'd expect there to be. She tells him a few times to be slower and softer and later talks about how much she's been wanting to fuck him.

The sex is reasonably natural and passionate. There's a nice pussy-eating and fingering sequence at the beginning that she says brings her to orgasm. We could have done with a bit more of that. The only thing we really would have liked, though, is a bit more kissing.

She seems to have quite a few orgasms: the one when he is eating her, and then a few more while they are fucking. That said, she seems to overplay her sexual arousal, and we were not entirely convinced by her first orgasm, which happens very quickly. He pulls out and cums on her stomach.

The camera work is very good but not great. For the most part, the shots are wider and the camera is fairly still. When she's sucking him, for example, we are able to see him fingering her, as well as his face.

Scene 2: Cherie DeVille and Tommy Pistol (♀♂)


Time: 38:45

Female Orgasm: Yes, Cumshot: Tits

Features: Analingus, Bondage, Spanking

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance

This is one of Natalie's dreams. The talking and teasing at the beginning is very hot, as she undresses, and he prepares her for what is to come. That intensifies through the scene, too, though it does become a bit repetitive at times.

The scene is very hot, and there's a real sense of connection between them—even if they are just characters in a dream. She has quite a few orgasms—mostly, at least, with his permission.

That said, this is a very long scene. It does divide in a nice way, into the purely BDSM part at the beginning, which lasts about 22 minutes, and the more genital sex that follows, which lasts about 16 minutes. But it is still a lot longer than it needs to be, especially for the purpose of the story. And, after the intensity of the BDSM, the more conventional sex comes as a bit of an anti-climax and, to be honest, becomes a bit boring. It would have been much more effective had they fucked quickly, or had her blow him, or whatever, so that the focus was kept on the BDSM, which actualy is what matters to the story.

The camera work is again very good, probably better than in the first scene. There is a long close-up of her pussy as he teases her, but it makes sense in the context of the scene. We do lose sight of him when she is riding him, though, mostly, it would seem, because of where the camera is and how they are positioned.

Scene 3: Gia Paige and James Deen (♀♂)


Time: 27:00

Cumshot: Hip

Features: Spanking, Vibrator

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance

Natalie's friend Sidney (Gia Paige) tells her about her own experiences back when they were students. She met MM (James Deen) on the web and had a long relationship with him, during which they did "everything".

The beginning of the scene features spanking and then flogging of her ass, tits, and pussy. He masturbates her until she begs to cum, then does it again. She then sucks him, and they start fucking. The dialogue between them really makes the scene hotter, as she begs him and he teases her. But it again becomes a bit repetitive after a while.

Frankly, we found it difficult to get into this scene, for the simple reason that James Deen is in it, and we don't usually even watch scenes that he is in. We made an exception for this movie. Anyway, the scene is much longer than it needs to be for the purpose of the story. There is more integration of BDSM into the genital sex sequence, but once they start fucking, it's just as if the variety comes to an end.

Scene 4: Riley Cruise and Michael Vegas (♀♂)


Time: 21:00

Cumshot: Hip

Features: Analingus, Bondage, Footjob

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance

Robin (Riley Cruise) was very skeptical when Sidney confessed her interest in BDSM. So she wrote an essay trying to argue her friend's point. Her friend (Michael Vegas), possibly boyfriend, loved it, but wonders why she still thinks BDSM is 'anti-feminist'. So he lets her tie him up.

It's great to have a woman in a dominant role here. But it's a bit disappointing, because it is so tame compared to the scenes in which the men are in the dominant role. She only ties his legs to the bed, then sucks his cock...for a good long while. Sheer torture, we're sure! She does at least straddle his face, but that's not exactly out of the ordinary. So it ends up being pretty typical sex, but with his legs tied spread...until he unties them and "takes the power back".

That said, the sex is pretty good, and there's a really nice sense of connection between them, largely because of how they talk to each other. She does seem to enjoy herself, too, but we don't think she ever cums.

The camera work is also very, very good, probably the best so far in the movie.

Scene 5: Cassidy Klein and Mickey Mod (♀♂)


Time: 29:00

Female Orgasm: Multiple, Cumshot: Pussy

Features: Bondage, Spanking

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance

It turns out that Bryce too is curious about BDSM, so he has Natalie meet him at a rental dungeon for their first experience together.

As in earlier scenes, the way they talk to one another is really hot. And really convincing. They do a great job, as they did in the first scene, of playing their roles as a new couple experimenting. It's relatively light BDSM, as is appropriate to the occasion. (Why couldn't there have been at least a bit like that in the fourth scene?)

In this case, it actually makes sense that the BDSM should more or less come to an end, and that they should just start having more conventional sex. He does give her some nipple suction, but mosty they fuck. And that goes on for about as long as it would have had there been no BDSM, which makes for a very long scene, yet again.

The camera work, though, is really excellent in this scene. We really loved the dramatic lighting, or lack thereof.

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