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Voyeur, The

Review by: 
Sinferno
AKA: 
L'uomo che guarda
Release Date: 
1984
Studio: 
Cult Epics
Genre: 
Cult/Erotic
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
1 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.78:1
Directed by: 
Tinto Brass
Cast: 
Katarina Vasilissa
Francesco Casale
Cristina Garavaglia
Movie: 
4
Extras: 
3
Bottom Line: 
4

At a college in Rome a mild mannered professor named Eduardo “Dodo” is suffering greatly, even though it appears every woman in his life resembles a clothing optional Italian supermodel. It seems his (perfect looking) blonde Italian wife Silvia (played by Italian Porn star Katarina Vasilissa) has taken another lover. We follow Eduardo through his daily routine as he mourns his broken heart, meanwhile everywhere he looks people are having hot sex, dooming him to play the part of the broken hearted observer, or “voyeur”. Eventually, he turns to his bedridden father for support, but even his dad has a rich and fulfilling love life with Fausta his medical attendant who (of course) looks like a young Sophia Loren and whose unique and exhaustive bedside manner gives a new definition of the title “Private Nurse”. Moreover his dad actually appears to be part of the problem in his marriage, moreso than Dodo could ever guess. Did you figure out the plot of this tale of exquisite and maddening sexual frustration? Sadly, Dodo simply doesn’t get it, and when I say “Doesn’t get it” not only am I trying to say he simply cannot seem to have sex even as he exists in a world with scores of flawless looking, scantily dressed willing female would-be partners, but he simply cannot see who the REAL problem in his relationship even though they are featured prominently on the back cover of the DVD railing his wife. So like “Spoiler Alert” or something….

Filmed by Tinto Brass, one should expect many of the same hallmarks of many of his previous works. For one thing, it is inspired by a famous erotic work, in this case "L'Uomo che guarda" by the late Alberto Moravia. Stylistically, other technical effects hint heavily to previous works: for one thing the close-ups of vaginas seem so constant and ubiquitous that you expect them to be individually named in the credits. A common complaint I have always heard time and time again about unrated American erotica is that while female topless scenes are common, the full frontal footage of vaginas is fleeting and always out of focus, to this I say “Au contraire, mon frère”. This film has more lingering close up shots of “kitty” set to dramatic music than one of those SPCA animal shelter commercials narrated by Sarah McLachlan. Of course, for the male actors in the simulated sex scenes the action is a little less natural. In order to film detailed sexual scenes of arousal/touching which would break every MPAA rated rule, all erect penises are prosthetic, which brings this unrated film unnaturally closer to X rated than any film has a right to be-(one of Tinto Brasses better known technical contributions to this genre). Surprisingly, the effect is very convincing.

The end product is a well filmed, beautiful unrated film that plays like X except for the lack of close up penetration/ ejaculation and the fact it features a joyless protagonist who is cursed to wander around a bizarre sex infused world which he is doomed to be a spectator; a mere voyeur  just as we the viewers are.  THE VOYEUR takes place in a strange fictitious hypersexual fantasy world filled with orgy beaches, “full service” nurses and nubile students ten years his junior that actually want to teach the professor a thing or two about lovemaking. Yet even though this film is filled with every tired trope and idiom of much stupider, cruder adult flicks, the earnestness of the man who cannot truly be loved by any woman gives it a sadness; an almost maddening delaying of gratification that makes it seem smarter than any other movie with hundreds of close up “coochie” shots could ever be.

If your wife, girlfriend or significant other is down on XXX/adult film because they find it demeaning, and routinely Vchip/veto every film you propose as evening of “adults only” viewing pleasure, this film is a must own because it is probably the hardest unrated work I have ever seen. This film doesn’t just touch the line before X rated…It IS the line. As a first date movie, this flick is positively more sensually lethal yet somehow more tasteful than the box art/rating would have you believe it to be and I can see where it would be “inspirational” for first time lovers. I have always said that there is just something about subtitled erotica that makes it seem somehow legitimate…decent in its indecency? If so, this is some weapons grade video Viagra.

I am giving this a four, it’s at least as intelligent as anything an American has ever seen on “After Dark” on Cinemax and yet it is so much sexually explicit than anything ever seen on American late night cable.  I would give it more, but the real villain in this sordid tale of romantic betrayal is someone so obvious, a child could figure out their identity and they shouldn’t be watching this. You however, might want to give it a try.

Extras include some trailers, a photo gallery an interview with Tinto Brass himself where he speaks of rubber penises and takes credit for Bill Clinton’s “unconventional” use of cigars being inspired by a scene in this film. (He just may be right).

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