One wades through scores of obscure video releases just in the hopes of finding one visually arresting, intelligently written thriller. Stacked beside the steady stream of illogical murder mysteries and juvenile crime dramas, the stylish THE FINISHING TOUCH may seem even better than it is.
Someone with a depraved artistic bent is slicing up women in Los Angeles, and it's not a pretty picture. High-strung Detective Sam Stone (Michael Nader) is forced to reteam with his ex-wife Hannah (Shelley Hack) who agrees to work undercover to ensnare the murderer. The emotional baggage carried
by this troubled pair forms an interesting subtext for this yarn about trust and lust, as Hannah becomes involved with prime suspect Mikael Gant (Arnold Vosloo). Ostensibly set up as a target for the killer's next homicidal expression, Hannah loses her objectivity when Gant displays a powerful
brushstroke technique in the boudoir. Are Stone's instincts about Gant colored by jealousy, or should the coppers be tailing Nick Sorvino (John Mariano), a pornographer, rape suspect and former employee of Gant's with a grudge for being fired?
In a warehouse that ships out kiddie videos, Stone discovers a stash of snuff movies starring all of the serial killer's victims. Although Gant is arrested, he's released for lack of sufficient evidence; Hannah feels she's made a mess of her police work and any potential relationship with Gant.
After Stone traces Sorvino to a kinky s & m rendezvous, he's forced to shoot the low-life; the police consider the snuff murder case closed. Storming off the force, Hannah returns to Gant to apologize, but instead discovers that he's not only the real psychopath but he also has an aversion to
dates who kiss and tell. Arriving in the nick of time, Stone grapples with Gant. At the climax, Hannah gets knocked out but revives and shoots Gant in his crotch, thus ending a life of crime and art.
Unlike run-of-the-mill maniac movies, THE FINISHING TOUCH boasts carefully planned atmospheric touches and psychological insights. Its sole objective isn't merely to keep viewers awake in between the graphic slay sequences; instead it develops the characters' personalities to such a degree that we
have an interest in them beyond their involvement in finding out whodunit.
Exploring the unresolved relationship of Stone and Hannah, THE FINISHING TOUCH juxtaposes their estranged sexuality with the fulfillment Hannah gets from Gant. Wildly possessive of his ex-wife, Stone cannot go on with his own life. Interestingly, the volatile Stone seems more off-balance than the
murder suspect. Not only does the film maintain a high level of sexual tension, it also keeps viewers guessing about the true murderer's identity, not by dispensing the usual red herrings but by offering us several viable suspects.
Painting an ugly portrait of crime-solving in urban America, THE FINISHING TOUCH employs its art world background evocatively. Creepy and sometimes suprisingly erotic, this thriller presents a blood-spattered canvas where life is cheap but the profits from murder are high. At the same time, it
takes no prisoners as it confronts a contemporary battle of the sexes. An unusually sophisticated crime thriller. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: One wades through scores of obscure video releases just in the hopes of finding one visually arresting, intelligently written thriller. Stacked beside the steady stream of illogical murder mysteries and juvenile crime dramas, the stylish THE FINISHING TOUC… (more)