Al Pacino gives a powerful, critically acclaimed performance in this highly charged erotic thriller. Veteran New York City police detective Frank Keller (Pacino) is a workaholic cop living on the edge. Joining forces with detective Sherman Touhey (John Goodman) to track down a bizarre serial killer, he encounters a beautiful suspect (Ellen Barkin). Convinced of her innocence, Keller enters into a passionate affair, despite hard evidence linking her to the murders. Mounting suspense leads to a surprising conclusion as Keller finds himself caught in an undercurrent of deception, seduction and betrayal.
After a career slump that plagued him through most of the 1980s, Al Pacino made a stellar comeback in this taut 1989 thriller, playing a weary New York police detective who falls in love with the woman (Ellen Barkin) who is the prime suspect in the murder case he's investigating. Expertly written by Richard Price and directed by Harold Becker, the story is designed to keep its central characters (and the viewer) in a state of constant suspicion and arousal--an emotional combination that sends dangerous sparks flying between Pacino and Barkin. Their chemistry is intense, and their love scenes are some of the hottest of any movie of its decade. But Sea of Love
is not merely concerned with cheap titillation. It's a riveting whodunit with scenes of nail-biting suspense and memorable dialogue that make it as interesting to listen to as it is to watch. Barkin had made a similarly sexy impression in The Big Easy
, and here she gives one of the best performances of her underrated career, matching Pacino's excellence scene for scene. The ending's a bit of a letdown because the murder solution comes somewhat out of the blue, but it's the acting and suspense that you'll remember most--qualities that make Sea of Love
one of the best films of its kind. --Jeff Shannon