Movie Review: Mandingo!

A film about interracial gangbangs, by VBS

You may be aware of the Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon, a trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon which rests on the assumption that any Hollywood celebrity can be linked through his or her film roles to the craggy faced Apollo 13 actor. I thought of this whilst viewing VBS’s excellent new movie Mandingo!, the story of interracial wife swapping in Tampa, Florida, which is hosted by editor Alex Miller and a man I used to sit on the same desk as when we were both employed by NME.

Call it the One Degree Of Alex Miller if you like but there were many occasions throughout the viewing of Mandingo! where I thought, “there’s only one person that separates me from that penis/weeping cuckold husband/emotionally crippled housewife”. I’ll level with you, it did much to make me feel uncomfortable. But Alex’s neat observation of this strange swinging scene brought a humanity to the tale you don’t often find in VBS films, in which the standard briefing appears to be ‘find something fucked up in the world, position yourself at the front of the story, film it’. That’s not to say the Vice television wing don’t make excellent documentaries – I can’t think of one movie they’ve made that isn’t in some way exciting viewing – but Alex expresses more judgment than you might find in the majority of the companies output, marrying being naturally intrigued with weary sadness at the grubby dealings he finds going on.

The film sees Alex and VBS trail the pursuits of a man called Art Hammer, boss of the Florida Mandingos, a group of (and I’ll hand the description over to Art, if you don’t mind) “professional, educated, physically fit, drug and disease free, well-hung black gentlemen that specialize in hot, intense, nasty gangbangs for couples who love black dicks”. What follows is an evening spent observing a sweaty, condo-based gangbang that’s much more fun when people are drinking and dancing than they are having sex and playing havoc with racial stereotypes. There’s a minor sub-plot to the movie too, that being the endeavour of Art to make a living with his sex parties within an economic climate that’s seen him recently lose his job. Much like in my two favourite VBS movies prior – Vice Guide To Liberia and Swansea Love Story – whilst you might find Art a bona fide cretin (I did), VBS manage to coax some humanity out of a person who appears to have little throughout this excellent movie.

Now, please excuse me while I go bathe my brain, my eyes and my soul in bleach.

Click here to watch Episode 1 of ‘Mandingo!’

James McMahon