9 September 2014 | lazarillo
Not really good, but still recommended
It's interesting how the wonderful Italian giallo the thrillers of the 60's and early 70's somehow managed to degenerate into boring softcore "erotic thrillers" by the 1990's. It's also interesting this same misbegotten genre developed in a parallel fashion in America, but via a very different tradition of erotic 80's neo noir (films like "Body Heat") and the pernicious influence of Zalman King ("9 and a Half Weeks"). I'm not sure who really is responsible for the "erotic thrillers", the Italians or the Americans (or who imitated whom), but it's a pretty awful genre regardless , especially compared to the original Italian gialli or American film noir.
This movie is similar plot-wise to the Hollywood film "Sleeping with Enemy", but it was made four years BEFORE that one. It might have been influenced by "9 and a Half Weeks", but it's actually a vast improvement over that over-hyped Hollywood garbage. First off, the sex in this really IS perverse, not just the totally vanilla concept of "perverse" portrayed in "9 and Half Weeks". The brutal sex games the protagonist's husband plays with her involve him putting a loaded gun inside her , um, well inside HER and playing Russian roulette, or hiding in the closet as she seduces other strange men. When she leaves him, she immediately hooks up with a disturbingly androgynous-looking pretty boy and she not only dresses unconvincingly like a man at one point (as Kim Basinger does in a stupid scene in "Weeks"). but takes the gender-bending so far that she actually "pegs" her male partner with a hairbrush (something I can't imagine Basinger doing to Mickey Rourke). Of course, this movie is really only very erotic in that Florence Guerin is just such a stunning beauty and spends most of the movie naked and doing some pretty degrading things, but at least you can't say it's bland and boring like the overrated Zalman King tripe.
The subplot with the deranged husband stalking the wife (after he has "infected her" with his perversions) is not dramatically convincing maybe, but it does give this movie some small amount of frisson so that it doesn't completely degenerate into a typically boring series of purely mechanical softcore sex scenes. This is too dumb and blandly filmed to make it as a giallo (and sub-Kenny G jazz soundtrack is truly awful), but it's also too genuinely perverted and long on dramatic plot to be one of the worthless "erotic thrillers" that became the bane of the 1990's in both Italy and the US. And then there's Florence Guerin herself, who I can really only describe with inarticulate drooling sounds. . .
This is not good really, but I'd still give it a qualified recommendation.