Apr. 4th, 2012

innocent_man: (redwig)
Crimes of Passion is an erotic thriller from the 80s, directed by Ken Russell and starring a very young, very hot Kathleen Turner and an older and not very hot Anthony Perkins. Turner's character, Joanna/China Blue is a fashion designer by day, hooker by night who turns tricks as a way of coping with her own inner demons - her hotel room is the "safest place in the world," she says, because she can be anyone there.

Meanwhile, John Laughlin plays Bobby Grady, an electronics salesman who married his high school sweetheart and has officially lost that loving feeling, or at least, his wife (Annie Potts) has. She turns in a great performance - she's sullen, sad, passive-aggressive and completely uncomfortable talking about sex at all. Meanwhile Bobby wants to love her and please her, but he's kind of a tool and he's frustrated. Taking some surveillance work to bolster his income, he learns Joanna's secret, and eventually goes back and sees her as a client. They're both actually attracted to each other, but he's got his family and she's got her issues.

Oh, and then there's Tony Perkins, who hasn't lost his creeptastic touch. He's playing a "reverend" who hangs around the sleazy motel, watching the prostitutes and buying Joanna's time so he can try to "save" her. And he has a bladed dildo in his bag of tricks. Oh, dear.

The movie is weird, creepy and actually pretty well done. The scenes between Bobby and his wife are hard to watch because they're understated and they really communicate a sexless marriage that's on the rocks. Bobby is a generally good man, but he's not without flaw - he takes some cheap shots at his wife when she's down and he does cheat on her with a hooker, which is perhaps not entirely OK. The "thriller" bit of the movie means Perkins gets to be an awesome foil for Joanna and still be scary, but I like that he's not knocking of hookers right and left (he fantasizes about it, but the movie really shows him unraveling and becoming more willing to do violent things than starting off there). The sex scenes are pretty good, though the music is so dated it makes me grow a mullet.

Russell has a done a couple of movies about prostitutes, one of which (Whore) was in direct response to Pretty Woman, which he felt glamorized and fairy-tale'd the realities of sex work, which is position I can't really disagree with. Anyway, Crimes of Passion is a good drama with some sex and violence, rather than an erotic thriller, in my opinion, but it's a good movie if you're patient with it.

My Grade: B+
Rewatch Value: Medium-Low

Next up: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon


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