(director/writer: Lizzie Borden; screenwriters: story by Allan Moyle/Allan Moyle/Laurie Frank; cinematographer: Jack N. Green; editor: Mike Jackson/Nicholas C. Smith; music: Graeme Revell ; cast: Sean Young (Dana Greenway), Patrick Bergin (David Hanover), Arnetia Walker (Maria), James Read (Stanton Gray), Ron Orbach (Tully), Fern Dorsey (Colleen Dells), Wayne Shorter (Jazz Quartet Member); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Rudy Langlais/Lizzie Borden; HBO (Miramax); 1992)
“Disappointing confused erotic thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Feminist filmmaker Lizzie Borden(“Terror Toons”/”Working Girls”/”Born in Flames”) directs this disappointing confused erotic thriller, that is unsure of the direction it wants to go–entertainment or feminist analysis. It’s based on the story by Allan Moyle. and is written by Moyle, Borden and Laurie Frank. The story is based on a real-life 1970s case involving a Richard Avedon impersonator.

The Atlanta-based Assistant DA, Dana Greenway (Sean Young), is so obsessed in nailing con man and rapist David Hanover (Patrick Bergin), that she disobeys her boss and goes on stakeouts with cops and goes undercover to trap the perp. Hanover poses as a famous fashion photographer, whereby he gets plain girls to pose for him in the hopes they can pursue a modelling career. He then rapes and robs them and blackmails them. When Hanover is spotted in Savannah, Dana goes undercover to make sure he gets arrested.

Its sleaziest scene is one of a spanking, with the star in the nude trying to entrap the perpetrator.

It raises questions as to why the female victims are too humiliated to press charges. But the motivations as to why the heroine is so obsessed with this sexual predator remains murky, in a weak screenplay and wooden performance that never get to the psychological experience of the cop. Though it tries to raise some thoughtful questions about its lurid subject, it never seems to rise above being a conventional exploitation thriller. I think the thriller genre is not a good one for the talented Borden to work in. The film becomes unintentionally tawdry when Young sets herself up as bait to catch the creepy rapist and wonders if she could be seduced by his violent acts, and further wonders if women are meant to suffer forever as victims of the power games played by men. Taking the film down this vacuous road, leaves it stuck wrestling with mediocrity.