Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Surrogate

(Don Carmody, 1984)
I like how the script keeps tossing off suggestively left-field details of character and motivation at the most improbable moments - it keeps you on your toes, just like the plethora of plausible suspects in the grisly-murder subplot that eventually catches up with the foreground action. And the pleasures of the casting only begin with duelling-uberbabes Shannon Tweed and Carole Laure, although of the top-tier supporting crew only Jackie Burroughs really gets a proper showcase (and how). The narrative's handling of its various psychosexual disorders is candidly lurid and preposterous, which is appropriate and fun - but also pandering, which is annoying. Gay guy Jim Bailey's stock camp mannerisms don't become any less tiresome when he's revealed as a secret skirt-chaser, especially given angry guy Art Hindle's unchecked 'faggot'-baiting. And while the across-the-board association of kink with psychosis is probably meant to set judgmental straights up for the surprise ending, the ploy doesn't work, mainly because the surprise is preposterous in a bad way - contrived, arbitrary, and laborious.

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