Bil’s rating (out of 5): B. USA/West Germany, 1980. CiP – Europaische Treuhand AG, Lorimar Film Entertainment. Screenplay by William Friedkin, based on the novel by Gerald Walker. Cinematography by James A. Contner. Produced by Jerry Weintraub. Music by Jack Nitzsche. Production Design by Bruce Weintraub. Costume Design by Robert De Mora. Film Editing by Bud S. Smith. Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.
Al Pacino plays a cop who goes undercover in the world of leather bars to catch a serial killer, at some point suffering a crisis of identity as he finds himself overwhelmed by the pervasive sexuality and violence he encounters. Gay rights activists protested this thriller at every step of its creation, and were right to do so: the film’s depiction of gays is limited and downright gruesome, the message here being that the alternative lifestyle attracts spiritual destruction and, eventually, murder. Beyond its social errs, the film is confusing, disgusting and (most disappointing of all) uninteresting. At least William Friedkin could have made an involving mystery amid all the damnable judgments, but the plot is just plain boring.