Friday, May 27, 2011

Fatal Attraction

(Michael Grant, 1980)

No not THAT Fatal Attraction. This mess is at least interesting for its obsessively perverse sexuality – about 15 years ahead of the Canuck cinema curve. After a freak head-on collision, psychology professor Stephen Lack and psychotherapist Sally Kellerman progress from hostile litigiousness to red-hot amour fou, in an extramarital affair whose fanciful play-acting goes dangerously over the top in record time. In fact, it frequently seems like all of the character and plot development are happening off screen; relationships shift and mutate so quickly that the protagonists become completely unknowable and credibility is strained to the breaking point. On what planet does a university professor barge into a loaded restaurant, humiliate random diners, fire a loaded handgun into the glassware, and stage a mock-kidnapping without repercussions? And since when does the non-consenting mock-kidnappee wet her panties at the thrill of this arbitrary behaviour? With the dramatic context providing no substantial challenge to the banal realism of the era, the arbitrary eruptions of kink come off as desperate and disfiguring. Kellerman is all right under the circumstances and John Huston’s cameo is a charming afterthought, but Lack is bedeviled by the kind of atrocious post-dubbing that destroys your faith in a movie, and the entire first half is drenched in incongruous 80s synth-boppery, often with gratuitously literal lyrics that prod at the action like a Greek chorus with nothing to say.