New York city in 1980, some murder victims are found and it is suspected that it is a work of a serial killer. The targets are all gay men (similar age and looks) hanging around in West Village bars. The head of the detective department picks Al Pacino to go undercover, since he resembles the victims. He gets an apartment there, and moves out of his girlfriends home. Unfortunately the assignment takes a toll on their relationship since he cannot tell her the details. He starts frequenting the S&M bars in the area and MeatPacking district and makes friends with his neighbour Ted. After days of going in and out in the bars, he suspects on of the guys as a potential killer that they have been looking for. The cops force and traumatise the guy, which leaves our man disturbed by the hole sequence of events including police brutality on a poor unsuspecting man just because he is gay. Following a new lead, Al Pacino starts following a music student closely. When he sneaks into his house, he finds the leather outfits and some letters and is convinced that he is the killer. He lures him into a cruising park and brings that guy into custody. While the police department thinks that the case is solved, murdered body of Ted is found which the police dismisses the murder as a lover's quarrel turned violent. The end of the film is a bit open ended when Al Pacino returns to his girlfriends home and his girlfriend inspects his clothes that look very similar to the outfit that the killer wore.
The film is interesting but apparently it went through a lot of controversy when it was released way back when. The bar scenes and murder scenes seem to be shot at real locations. Some of us still dont realise this but some aspects of our world could be filled with danger especially when temptation seems to be everywhere. It was fascinating for me to see what NYC was probably like in 1980s. One thing that I personally felt that the murderer in ever scene looked similar but a different person. I wonder if this is my imagination or does it mean that they may be one killer on the prowl. I mean given the fact that Ted’s body is found after the killer is behind bars could support this theory. The ending is what makes the film special. During the film we see how his relationship with his girlfriend is deteriorating and they have even stopped having sex. Also he says t his boss that the assignment is personally affecting him a lot. Does that mean, that he was cared to come to terms with the possibility that he may be gay, or at least, feels attracted to the idea!! When the cops catch the first guy, why was Al Pacino tied up in bed. Clearly, he wanted to try things out and experience. Otherwise won’t he have tied that man instead? I also think that maybe there was a hint that may he himself was the killer. If not the original one, then maybe became one in the process.
An interesting, intense and dark thriller with good performance and open-ended interpretation. Although now that I write this review, I wonder if the film was really supposed to be a thriller or was the main focus to actually show the character graph and development of Al Pacino’s character and his possible involvement in the 1980s gay S&M sub-culture. We may never find answers to some these questions. (7/10)