...to the sea....the sea of looooovee....Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii want to tell you, hoooooooww much I love you....!
I was singing just then, the Phil Phillips hit "Sea of Love." Some of you might have heard this song featured in films like Juno and Look Who's Talking Too, but only one film used it as its focus, the 1989 Al Pacino thriller Sea of Love. I used to really like this song, but now I don't think it will ever be the same, as the song was used in order to show when a particular serial killer had been in someone's apartment. Never heard of this film? Well let me illuminate it for you.
The film opens with a naked man humping a pillow, face down on his bed. It sounds as though he is enjoying it, but then he pitifully mutters 'please' to an unseen person. Then someone from off-screen shoots him in the back of the head, leaving Sea of Love playing in the background. This then allows the writer to introduce our flawed, but clever hero...Detective Frank Keller (Al Pacino). He is assigned to the case and ends up teaming with a Queens detective (John Goodman) in order to catch the killer, who appears to be choosing his victims from the personals ads of a magazine. They place an ad and start interviewing the women who respond, and also take their fingerprints from wine glasses they drink from. It seems to be harmless, and even fun for the men, until Helen (Ellen Barkin) enters the picture. Frank immediately takes a liking to her, and yet she snubs him...not putting prints on anything. Later they meet up and have a wild night of love making, but Frank isn't sure if she is a killer or not. As the passion rises, so does the danger and he has to decide whether or not he trusts her.
Sound familiar? Well that's because it kinda is. Joe Eszterhas would rewrite the concept in San Francisco as Basic Instinct a few years later and people have noted similarities between the two stories. However, both films are different and have their own distinct flavor. Sea of Love is not the best of the erotic thrillers that came from the 80s and 90s, but it is memorable for both Pacino and Barkin's performances as well as the haunting use of Phillips' song. It was diverting enough for a Sunday afternoon, anyway. However, the next time I reach for a thriller of this type...I'm more likely to reach for Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct than for this. Also, I'd rather look at young Michael Douglas naked than middle aged Al Pacino naked (no offense Al...you were sexy in The Godfather...too bad smoking made you a leathery mess).