internet pornography

Made in: Canada
Language: English
Director: Robin Benger
Year: 2009

Synopsis: According to the research done by the makers of this CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) documentary, every second:

$3,075.64 is being spent on internet pornography
28,258 internet users are viewing porn
372 users are typing adult search terms into search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

Those are pretty scary numbers, and by the time you're finished sitting through this film, dealing drugs might seem honest by comparison.

Seasoned journalist Robin Benger directs Porndemic, and gives us a look at the internet pornography phenomenon. According to his research, it's a business that rakes in far more money than the World Series and Superbowl combined! Some of the biggest purveyors of smut, including Larry Flint, give candid interviews about the business and how the internet has taken it all to a new sticky level of nastiness.

Online entrepreneurs explain how modern technology has given Flint's infamous Hustler magazine, and other publications, a run for its money. With cheap digital cameras and the potential to reach a worldwide audience, the floodgates have opened for every imaginable sexual fantasy...all with the click of a mouse button.

Benger also makes mention of the technology necessary to keep up with demand, and reveals the possibility that the constant quest to increase the efficiency of the worldwide web is driven, to a large degree, by porn!

And behind all the depravity are savvy businessmen and women (many of whom have families), who go about their work the same way that most of us do. And like their less seedy counterparts, they also worry about profits, competition, advertising, and legal matters (such as copyright infringement).

Also mentioned are the potential implications of heavy exposure to internet pornography. With the proliferation of online smut on just about every continent, therapists and other mental health experts are reporting a steady increase in the treatment of sex addicts. And still more alarming is the accessibility of internet pornography, and its possible effects, on children.

The Good: Porndemic is a very sobering, eye-opening documentary on a well-known, yet mysterious subject. Director Robin Benger is pretty even-handed in presenting a variety of points of view, including those who work directly in the porn industry, those who study its financial/social impact, and those who are trying to speak out against it on moral grounds.

Benger reportedly developed a positive rapport with all is interviewing subjects, and ultimately lets the viewer decide.

The documentary is very professionally made, neither glorifying nor trashing the subject matter. Although it's an uncomfortable subject, Porndemic reveals the world of internet pornography as a complex creature that might just warrant more mature discussion.

The Bad: I thought more could have been discussed about the social impact of heavy exposure to porn. The interview with the sex addict (whose identity was hidden) and those treating sex addiction lent itself to more in-depth discussion, and what we saw seemed a little too general.

Who would like this movie: Porndemic is for you if you like fair-minded documentary films about controversial topics. Despite the racy pictures used to advertise the film (which might be a whole other discussion) the film doesn't become a porn movie in and of itself.

Its intention is to spark intelligent conversation about society, which I think it will. Although I would have liked the film to have been more in-depth, it's a sobering, informative presentation about one of North America's greatest taboos.

(3 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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