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Picks and Pans Review: Tattoo

updated 11/23/1981 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/23/1981 01:00AM

In 1965's The Collector, Terence Stamp imprisoned Samantha Eggar as if she were just another butterfly. Tattoo makes gaudily explicit what was implicit in the earlier film—sex, nudity and sadomasochism—but it's hardly as memorable. Obsessed by the beauty of model Maud Adams, Bruce Dern lures her into captivity and tries to cover her already admirably upholstered body with ornate tattoos. He wants to protect her from evil spirits, but the problem for Adams (who spends most of the movie in the nude) is that Dern himself is an evil spirit. Dern, our most convincing celluloid sickie, here is a thoroughly novel wacko who once disinfected public telephones and now puts hankies over the mouthpieces when he makes calls. When he first meets Adams he is so gallant Maud feels "like I'm out with Sir Galahad." But once he carries her off, he treats her to nights as errant as de Sade's. Dern and Adams are both credible, but the film's obsession with obsession, like Dern's ink, just doesn't wash. (R)

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