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In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.
The thirty year-old hard-worker Bobby Grady is married with two children to the frigid Amy Grady and their marriage is in crisis. Bobby is invited to work the night shift at a fashion design studio whose owner believes his talented and introspective designer Joanna Crane is selling his designs to competitors. Bobby accepts the job to make money and please Amy with a bathtub and follows Joanna after hours. He discovers she has a double life, working as a fifty-dollar hooker called China Blue in the red light district and practicing kinky sex with her clients to satisfy their fantasies. Bobby becomes obsessed by China Blue and when the true thief is found, he has sex with her and they have a crush on each other. Meanwhile the insane preacher Rev. Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins) decides to save Joanna's soul and stalks her everywhere.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Maybe not among Ken Russell's best but still a very good film
Ken Russell as has been said many times before always was an interesting and unique director, though also understandably controversial. Crimes of Passion is not quite Women in Love and The Devils among his best but it is certainly much better than Lisztomania and Gothic. Crimes of Passion may not be perfect, with the score rather repetitive and excessively utilised and Annie Potts' "deadly serious" performance at odds with the rest of the performances(which are campier and broader), she is a talented actress who wasn't able to play to her strengths. To a lesser extent also the scene with the vibrator and the blow-up doll didn't make much sense and reminiscent of the irrelevant excesses that Russell could be prone to, though admittedly it did have some entertainment value. Crimes of Passion does look great though, very stylishly filmed with some garishness that meshed perfectly within the atmosphere. The scene with the couple in bed in conversation is shot cleverly too with a several-minute non-break shot. The satire is very witty and the funny moments are enough to make you laugh-out-loud, while with the story Crimes of Passion is not plot-heavy but it does keep one's attention and is paced well, never what you can deem as dull. As well as funny parts, there are also some poignant parts like the woman with the terminally ill husband and some shocking ones with the scene with the cop. The ending is a shocker too, though also may be a head-scratcher for some. The sex scenes are very lurid but also very sensual as well, and Russell directs with not that much restraint- here adopting the pulls no punches approach- but there is nothing really distasteful either. Kathleen Turner gives one of her best performances, she is very sexy and her performance is daring and even with the theatrical style of acting here(in general not just with her) she manages to make China sympathetic. Anthony Perkins evokes Norman Bates and brilliantly, insanely psychopathic that it's scary as well as somewhat campy. John Laughlin's role is smaller and he is not as experienced or as good as Turner and Perkins but he acquits himself well. In conclusion, a very good film, not for everybody and Russell personally has done better but it's easy to see why it's won over people here and it does deserve its deemed cult classic status. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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