Elektra Luxx


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is part two of a Sebastian Gutierrez trilogy about a porn star, the titular Elektra Luxx, who decides to change her life after surviving a hard one-two punch from a tragedy and a pregnancy. The story began in Women in Trouble and will conclude in Women in Ectasy. Some very good news is that Guterriez's girlfriend is Carla Gugino, who has been appearing in his movies since 1998, and therefore kinda had the inside track on the central role as the porn star.

This film has a very peculiar rhythm and structure. The star's progress provides the central narrative, but that's really only an anchor for a series of vignettes about people who come into contact with her. Some of those people are important to her life, others are merely peripheral. The narrative works like this: she meets person #1, we see their back story, we return to Elektra's story, she meet's person #2, we see their back story, we return briefly to person #1, we return to Electra's story. To mix things up a bit, maybe we see some of the characters interacting in scenes that have nothing to do with Elektra, or maybe we see an unrelated vignette involving a grandparent of one of the characters, or maybe we see them return into Elektra's life by some coincidence. You get the idea.

It's a little bit of comedy, a little bit of drama, and a lot of magic realism. (The Virgin Mary makes an appearance, for example, and she looks a lot like Julianne Moore.) Because the anchor story moves ahead slowly and fills only about 10% of the running time, and because the script disdains traditional narrative structures, the film's appeal to you will depend primarily on whether you find the stagy dialogue and quirky characters amusing, and secondarily on your willingness to go with the randomness of the stories.  

I've seen several of Gutierrez's movies, almost all of them. He was kind of a prodigy when, at age 23, he got to write and direct Judas Kiss, a twisty, witty neo-noir starring Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson as bickering investigators (from Louisiana !!!). Like the Elektra Luxx films, Judas Kiss is filled with a lot of random, crazy vignettes, and I love that movie. I have no love for the next decade of Gutierrez's career, which encompassed Gothika, The Big Bounce re-make, Snakes on a Plane, and Rise: Blood Hunter. Of course, he was just a hired gun on the scripts for Gothika, Snakes on a Plane and The Big Bounce, so let's just cross those off the list, and concentrate on the films which were Gutierrez projects. Then let's pretend that Rise: Blood Hunter was just a colossal, regrettable misfire that resulted from a bad acid trip or something. That leaves us with Judas Kiss, the Elektra Luxx trilogy, and Girl Walks into a Bar, which I have not seen, but which is probably good because it makes use of Gutierrez's strengths - snappy, literate dialogue and brief slice-of-life stories portrayed by a repertory cast.

Now we have a solid career (IMDb ratings):

The only thing wrong with that career is the 11-year gap between movies. In those 11 years Gutierrez went from "Wow, a 23 year old guy wrote and directed that?" to "Whatever happened to that kid who wrote The Judas Kiss?"

Based on what he's done recently, that kid is finally back. And, what the hell, he's only 36 now, so he has plenty of time to get a full head of steam going in his career. A sure sign that he's headed somewhere is the fact that a lot of very talented people believe in him, like him, and are willing to take small roles in his movies, ala Woody Allen. Timothy Olyphant, Justin Kirk, Vincent Kartheiser, Kathleen Quinlan, Julianne Moore and many others show up for Elektra Luxx roles that are little more than cameos, supplementing the Guiterrez repertory company with Gugino at its hub.

I like Elektra Luxx. I don't like it as much as I liked Judas Kiss, but I like it. It's not a perfect movie, and it's not going to reach a mass market, but it has a lot of heart and a lot of enthusiasm, and everyone in it seems to be having fun. In a Hollywood era filled with cynical money-grubbing sequels, remakes and formula pictures, Gutierrez's personal signature and offbeat sincerity provide a breath of fresh air.

Besides, how can you not like a movie in which Carla Gugino plays two very different roles (both quite well), and does a little bit of everything, even a song and dance (magical realism, remember) and some nudity?


* film plus some deleted scenes








30 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
50 Metacritic.com (of 100)






5.4 IMDB summary (of 10)





Box Office Mojo. It had only a token theatrical release before going to DVD. I was never in more than four theaters and grossed a mere $11,000.





  • Vincent Kartheiser shows his bum.
  • Carla Gugino does a full rear nude scene.
  • Amy Rosoff dances in transparent panties.



Web www.scoopy.com

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Interesting, but be aware that it is the middle part of a trilogy. Underrated at Rotten Tomatoes.