Costas Mandylor woodenly essays an enigmatic murder suspect, a professional photographer of prostitutes who has sex with all his models.
"Portraits of Innocence" is the latest published portfolio from controversial street shooter George Kendell (Costas Mandylor). It's expected to sell briskly since four of the teenage hookers Kendell photographed are now dead, victims of an unknown serial slayer. Hard-driving prosecutor Carolyn
Price (Patricia Charbonneau), who happens to run a halfway-house for wayward women, has Kendell arrested on suspicion of committing the murders in a sick bid for publicity.
Kendell's legal advisors secure novice attorney Elaine Taylor (Jennifer Grey) for the defense. Taylor even surprises herself by getting Kendell released pending an indictment. The tainted shutterbug sweeps his rookie lawyer off her feet and into bed. She even provides an alibi for him when another
"Portraits of Innocence" girl is killed. But Kendell's evasive manner and hidden stash of victim's jewelry convinces Elaine that she's made a terrible mistake, and she runs to Carolyn Price for help.
Carolyn insists that Elaine go on defending her client. In fact, the prosecutor has a guilty secret as well; she killed one of the whores during an argument, and now someone is mailing her pictures of the foul deed.
Carolyn comes to Elaine's office to confront her with proof of guilt. A struggle ensues. Kendell is exonerated, even though Elaine knows he's the primary perpetrator.
It's hard to discern a point to this murky jurisprudence noir--except that for the umpteenth time a lawyer's libido leads to danger (as in JAGGED EDGE, BASIC INSTINCT, or LEGAL EAGLES). Somehow, Elaine makes partner in her firm, despite perjured testimony and evidence tampering, suggesting that
none of the scriptwriters have had any acquaintance with courtrooms apart from tacky suspense thrillers.
Despite the high hooker count, this movie shies away from explicit erotica, but the cynical, winking attitude of police characters toward the flesh-peddling underworld is offensive enough on its own terms. It's an indication of how times change that in Martin Scorsese's TAXI DRIVER (1976), one
abused, underaged streetwalker was a moral outrage. Here, a whole gallery of them are just wallpaper. The cast deserves better, as does Curtis Petersen's moody cinematography. (Violence, adult situations, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Costas Mandylor woodenly essays an enigmatic murder suspect, a professional photographer of prostitutes who has sex with all his models. "Portraits of Innocence" is the latest published portfolio from controversial street shooter George Kendell (Costas Ma… (more)