Sea of Love  (1989)

I've been on a bit of a Pacino kick lately, going back to check out some of his movies that I had never gotten around to. "Sea of Love" came out in 1989, and was actually something of a "comeback" for Pacino. Prior to this, his last movie came out in 1985 - that four-year gap was the longest since his debut in 1969.

Pacino plays a New York cop on the case of a murderer who preys on men in the Singles section of the newspaper. It seems like a dated concept, but if you just change "newspaper" to "Craigslist" or "Tinder", the movie could actually be updated quite easily. A similar crime pops up in another borough, which leads to the joining of forces between Detective Frank Keller (Pacino) and Detective Sherman (John Goodman). They set up a sting operation, inviting numerous women from personal ads to meet the undercover detectives. Despite the numerous obvious reasons not to, Keller falls for one of the suspects.

Ellen Barkin is Helen Cruger, and this is the second movie that made me look at Ellen Barkin with wide eyes. In Buckaroo Banzai she fell victim to intentionally cartoonish 80s looks but stayed hot; in Sea of Love, she still has big hair and shoulder pads, but in the scenes when she isn't all made up, she shows off some unexpected (at least to me) beauty.

I always look at Pacino as an over-actor, but he's so good at over-acting that you just accept it. It's like he decided "if I'm going to over-act, I'm going to be the best damn over-actor the world has ever seen!"  He is unmistakable in his Pacino-ness, but it fits his character and provides an enjoyable experience.

The late-80s is smeared all over this movie, from the wardrobe to the soundtrack to the overall style. I can forgive the fashion, the soundtrack outside of the title song was pretty rough, and the style is just a sign of the times. It results in a movie that is dated, but not necessarily one that doesn't stand the test of time.



On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "Sea of Love" gets a 6 out of 10.


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