Fear City (1984)

ABEL FERRARA

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5

USA, 1984, , , .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Tom Berenger is terrific as a former boxer who acts as a companion to small-time New York City hood  in this stylish thriller by Abel Ferrara. Their business is running a talent agency that is actually a front for managing strippers, which comes under threat when a mysterious mad man begins attacking their girls in increasingly violent ways. Berenger’s ex-flame and the agency’s number one talent (played with resilient intelligence by Melanie Griffith) is ever more the endangered victim as the attacks pile up, rekindling her relationship with Berenger in the process. Directed with great skill, it’s a film that manages to keep the exploitation at a minimum despite the subject matter, never coming across as hating women and much more critical of the state of run-down early eighties New York City than anything else. Most interesting is the presentation of a villain who gets no back story and is never in danger of receiving unnecessary sympathy, while many of the film’s tenser moments are terrifying to behold.

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