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SKIN ART (director/writer: William Blake Herron; cinematographer: Rick Putnam; editor: Wendy Scheir; music: James Legg; cast: Kirk Baltz(Will), Jack Weber (Richard), Hil Cato (Sophia), Ariane Koizume (Lin), Nora Ariffin (Lily), Jadine Wong (Madame Cho), William Blake Herron (Stan); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Ron Mcghee/Jonathan Jardine; Fox (New Gaelic Films); 1993)
Only skin deep.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Writer-director William Blake Herron(“A Texas Funeral”) tells of a tortured American soldier, a POW during the Vietnam War, who tries to deal with life after as a civilian lost soul searching for love. The story is only skin deep.

Vietnam vet and former POW Will (Kirk Baltz) is a tattoo artist in Manhattan’s SoHo, who works for the slimy Richard (Jake Weber). He pimps Asian hookers from his brothel across the street from Will’s loft.

Through a series of flashbacks we straddle between the present and the past of Will’s world. The flashbacks reveal Will’s bitter war experience, and how he had an unresolved romance in Nam with a sensitive young Vietnamese-French woman (Hil Cato). She nursed him back to health, but left him romantically scarred. Will has eschewed sex with the Asian whores because he’s still haunted by the past. These flashbacks occur when he tattoos the back of avirgin Hong Kong hooker (Nora Ariffin), a job he considers a labor of love. When the tattooing ends so do the flashbacks, and the two have sex.

There’s nothing here that gets me aroused. The scene of Will masturbating to videos of his tattoos on the backs of Asian hookers left me thinking if body art is really art.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”