This lurid US-Australian production, which premiered in the States on home video, manages to hoist itself out of the erotic thriller ghetto, but doesn't venture quite far enough therefrom.
Years ago unstable Soho artist Julian Jons strangled a model, completing the canvas with her blood. After a hiatus in the asylum, Jons (Brent Fraser) resurfaces in LA as a shadowy figure working on a gallery exhibition. Hard-driving art critic Jennifer Cole (Finola Hughes) tracks down the
reclusive Jons and becomes his lover in spite of the guy's lethal past and wobbly sanity. When wealthy new patron Samuel Rourke (Seymour Cassel) commissions a portrait of Kristie--a lookalike for Julian's long-ago victim (both roles played by newcomer Tina Cote)--facing the girl each day triggers
flashbacks in which the tormented Jons relives the murder he committed--or did he? Jennifer determines that this nutcase is actually a guilt-ridden colleague of the deceased Julian Jons. He compulsively assumed the real madman's identity and brush technique, and, in order to seal the value of the
Jons forgeries, Rourke is scheming to kill both the imposter and Jennifer in a mock mental relapse. But like most bad guys in B movies, he's so busy chortling over his own cleverness that he drops the gun and gets shot down himself.
Fraser is more moody than scary, and a frilly nightgown he wears while working hardly enhances his supposed aura of menace. Hughes takes a more rewarding risk with her character, coming across as unsympathetic and more than a little perverse, getting a sexual turn-on through her proximity to a
Misogynistic themes are apparent in the works of, inter alia, de Kooning, Picasso, and Dali, and THE DARK SIDE OF GENIUS hints at this issue, but ultimately sticks to familiar suspense-thriller territory. Mercifully, director-cinematographer Papamichael keeps gore stylized or offscreen. Frank
Zappa's daughter Moon registers well in the thankless part of Jennifer's tart-tongued best pal. The Edvard Munch-style Julian Jons paintings were actually executed by William J. Quigley. (Violence, nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: This lurid US-Australian production, which premiered in the States on home video, manages to hoist itself out of the erotic thriller ghetto, but doesn't venture quite far enough therefrom. Years ago unstable Soho artist Julian Jons strangled a model, comp… (more)