Friday, 27 March 2015
Deadly Embrace (1989)
Akira Kurosawa came to the attention of English-speaking audiences with the 1950 film Rashomon. The main feature of that film is that it presents several different accounts of the same event, none of which - not even the last and seemingly most impartial - can be relied upon to be wholly true.
This film isn't a remake of Rashomon at all - not even close, in fact - but it does feature that same concept of an unreliable narrator. Only one, rather than four, though. Whether that was a more-ambitious-than-they're-really-capable-of reference to the earlier film, or an excuse for the big holes in the plot, I couldn't say for certain. But if I had to put money on it, I wouldn't wager on the former.
The film begins with a framing sequence involving a man being questioned in relation to two murders. We only ever see the hands of either the man or his interrogator - which reinforces my suspicion this was added later, possibly when they realised they needed to pad out the film's run time.
Things then switch over to the man's version of events leading up to the two deaths. Hired to look after the house and gardens of a wealthy businessman, the young beefcake is soon spending more time looking after the businessman's lonely wife than the premises. When his girlfriend - Linnea Quigley, best known for being naked for pretty much the whole of Return of the Living Dead - arranges to come up for a visit, though, he calls off the fling. The wife, whose husband has been playing around on her for years, does not take this betrayal very well.
If the above seems a very thin plot for an eighty minute film, well, it is. The movie pads it out by inserting more of the 'interrogation' scenes, as well as a lot of nudity. Like the framing story, some of this looks like it's been shot later and added in to bulk the run time.
The plot here is nonsensical, even if we allow that we have an unreliable narrator. His account includes events where he was not present and could have no way of knowing what happened. Of course, I very much doubt the plot was ever the point: this is an "erotic thriller", and those are always much more interested in the first word than the second.
This film has lots of cheesecake (and some beefcake too, if that's your thing), but little else to offer, and can safely be skipped.