Picks and Pans Review: Crimes of Passion

updated 11/12/1984 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1984 01:00AM

Within its 102 chaotic minutes, this film manages to arouse thoughts of Fellini, Bergman, Woody Allen, Hitchcock, Deep Throat, the Three Stooges and your Uncle Ziggy's home movies. Occasionally it even arouses thoughts of what seems to be its point: preoccupation with sex. Directed by Ken (Altered States) Russell, the picture vacillates between giddy, nervous humor and bleak despair. Kathleen (Romancing the Stone) Turner plays a prim clothes designer who moonlights as an any-thing-goes hooker not for the money but because she needs the attention. John (An Officer and a Gentleman) Laughlin, a hunky young family man estranged from his wife, falls in love with Turner. Meanwhile Anthony Perkins makes his Psycho character seem like the very model of well-adjusted humanity as he plays a would-be preacher whose prayers for Turner's lost soul are mixed with obscene remarks about her all-too-available body. Russell had to cut the film drastically to avoid an X rating (it's still probably the most sexually graphic mainstream film ever), and he seems to have used a lawn mower on it. Characters and subplots disappear without explanation. Annie (Ghostbusters) Potts, as Laughlin's wife, and Bruce (High Risk) Davison, as Laughlin's best friend, are especially wasted. Russell seems to be trying to say something about society's hypocritical approach to sex. But like most Russell films, Crimes of Passion goes out of control; watching it is like trying to talk to someone in a fit of hysteria. (R)

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