tek's rating:

Sea of Love (R)
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This came out in 1989, and I must have first seen it on TV sometime in the early 90s. I only remembered a few things from that viewing, including the fact that the song "Sea of Love" played on repeat at a murder scene. (So ever since I saw the movie, I've been unable to hear the song without thinking about murder.) I also remembered a scam the cops used to arrest a bunch of people all at once. And shortly thereafter, police detective Frank Keller (Al Pacino) did something kind for a latecomer to the bust. Other than that, I guess I all I remembered was that the movie starred Pacino and Ellen Barkin. (It also starred John Goodman, but I didn't remember that.) Anyway, I'm writing this in 2020 after watching the movie on DVD for the first time since I saw it on TV a few decades ago.

Frank has been on the job for 20 years, and people think he should retire, but I guess he has no idea what he'd do with himself if he wasn't working. (My guess is smoke and drink all day.) He's divorced, and a cop he works with his married to his ex-wife, and Frank is bitter about that. He basically seems bitter about most things in life, even if he is still capable of acts of kindness, when it suits him. Anyway, he begins investigating a murder, and soon afterward meets a cop from another precinct, Detective Sherman Touhey (Goodman), who is investigating a similar murder. Eventually they realize both victims had placed personal ads looking for dates, and the detectives conclude that one of the women who responded to the ads is the killer. So, they put an ad in the personals, themselves, and take turns meeting with each of the respondents at a restaurant, and getting their finger prints off glasses. However, Frank fails to get the prints of one of the women, Helen Cruger (Barkin), so she can be neither confirmed nor dismissed as a suspect. But he starts dating her (or at least sleeping with her), and... I wouldn't say falls in love so much as becomes obsessed. Honestly, she could and should do a lot better than him, especially after she finds out the truth about him being a cop, and herself being a murder suspect. (Toward the end of the movie, Frank even shows some self-awareness of this, before again pursuing her romantically, which really felt more like stalking, to me.)

As for the identity of the killer, I don't want to spoil that, but I will say I had predicted it pretty early on. I don't think I "remembered" it, even unconsciously, from the first time I had seen the movie, but I suppose it's possible. However, I'm sure I've seen the same premise used in other things, so I feel like that's what made it seem predictable to me. And I guess I don't know what else to say. It's not a bad movie, and I'm glad to have seen it again, though I don't feel a particular need to do so in the future.


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