Picks and Pans Review: Love Crimes

updated 02/10/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/10/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

Sean Young, Patrick Bergin

Young plays a tough Atlanta prosecutor whose dark past fuels her zealous pursuit of sex offenders. She goes so far as to accompany the police on busts and even, during a hooker sling, jeopardizes the life of her best friend, an undercover cop (the dynamic Amelia Walker).

Dana's current obsession: nailing a sexual con man (Bergin) who, masquerading as a famous photographer, has inveigled a number of secretaries, waitresses and clerks into erotic poses and into bed. But the women who have come forward are generally reluctant or unable to press charges. They can't really call what happened rape. The man made them feel special, and beautiful, they say. "Haven't you ever had a secret fantasy?" one victim asks Dana, who may indeed be playing out a fantasy when she goes undercover to trap the photographer at his own game.

The ambiguities set forth in this determinedly stylish, jarringly edited picture—the sometimes blurry line between the hunter and the hunted, between rape and seduction, between seduction and betrayal—are fascinating. Regrettably the supposedly feminist director, Lizzie Borden, and the screenwriters do little with these puzzles. They prefer to concentrate on scenes of women who—depending on one's point of view—are either being sexually humiliated or are playing out long buried erotic fantasies.

Young, her hair slicked back to a fare-thee-well, is a poor man's Debra Winger and—as her part is written—a laughably inept would-be cop. Bergin occasionally conveys the requisite menace hut never the necessary charisma to make his character believable. Ultimately, Love Crimes generates little heat and less light. (R)

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