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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 8 March 2004
From the opening scene - in which you see the 45 of 'Sea Of Love' playing and the first shooting - this film has you waiting and wondering just what will happen next.
Up steps Pacino in an almost typical down and out portrayal of a cop who just cannot accept things at face value, a sort of Columbo with style!
Falling for a potential suspect - the very sexy Ellen Barkin - seems an almost inevitable outcome from the moment you meet her, but it's the chemistry between the two, in bad times as well as good, that crackles across the screen and makes you sympathise with both characters.
Throughout the film, you start to suspect almost everybody, and even though you're half expecting someone to attempt to kill Pacino, it sill makes you jump out of your seat when it finally materialises!
And this film also has the best stand up sex scene in history as Pacino alternates between believing Barkin to be the killer to feeling compassion for her in the only way he can demonstrate!
Pacino is simply awesome in this role, whilst Barkin shows that she has a talent that has never truly blossomed. When she actually finds out that Pacino is a cop and that he's been using her, her expression would make you believe that she hadn't read the script and that she was really fooled!
There have been many other great Pacino performances, many of them giving him huge plaudits, but for me this is his finest of all. Absolutely sensational.
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on 12 November 2012
Blu-Ray picture quality is definitely better than the already good Dvd picture quality.
Audio (in both formats) sounds fine to my ears.
Blu-Ray is Vanilla, Dvd has a commentary,Featurette,Deleted Scenes and Trailer.
Well Worth upgrading to Blu-Ray, for those upgrading just add an Amaray swing tray to the Blu Case for old Dvd and you have the extras.
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on 7 December 2015
I love this movie chiefly because of the seductive, thrilling presence of Ellen Barkin. Al Pacino et al are all excellent in their roles, superb direction by Harold Becker. But it's Richard Price's earthy, ultra streetwise script that makes it all real. I adore the incidents of relationship faux pas, making it messy, thereby real. All these lonely characters are damaged, looking for love, putting themselves in danger in pursuit of long-lasting love. This movie fully deserves five stars. I still get a glowing warmth when I watch the much missed William Hickey drunkenly recite the love poem Frank's mother wrote...Beautifully messy and human. The dvd transfer picture quality is great for an 1989 movie, making the dark of the night scenes really throw dramatic shadows. The red lights on the cars pop out crisply. However, the only downer is this version's apparent exclusion of the armed bodyguard scene near the beginning. I've looked but I can't find it, you can glimpse it in the trailer and it remains in the old tv version. Overall, this movie is an unmissable classic.
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Sea of Love is certainly a better than average steamy crime thriller, but it didn't really bowl me over. Pacino's very good, of course, and Ellen Barkin more than holds her own against him, but Pacino's character can become tiresome after a while, and what I regard as a pretty sizeable red herring thrown into your lap midway through the story makes the ending a little less dramatic. I'm not saying the mystery is predictable – it's just not that shocking of a surprise.
Frank Keller (Al Pacino) isn't exactly Steve McGarrett material when it comes to his career as a detective, mainly because the guy is basically pretty pathetic. His wife left him for another detective on the force, and he's not handling that very well – drunken calls in the middle of the night to his ex-wife are not uncommon. The guy drinks like a fish all day and all night, whether he's on duty or not, he gets into serious shoving matches with other cops, and he spends more time getting under the skin of his fellow detective (and ex-wife's new man) than investigating the crime at the scene of the film's opening murder. Later on, he gets into a serious relationship with one of the murder suspects, which has to break a lot of rules in the old code of conduct. About all he gleans from the first murder is the fact that someone plugged a fat naked guy in the back of his head and that the killer was apparently a big fan of the song Sea of Love. Fortunately for him, a Queens detective (played by John Goodman) working on a similar case teams up with him on a two-man task force to find the mutual killer. The common thread linking the murders together is the fact that each victim had recently placed a poetic personal ad in the newspaper. Since no one seems to have bothered looking at any of the evidence too closely, Keller and Detective Sherman (Goodman) decide to place a similar ad in the paper, meet all of the women who respond, get their prints and compare them with those found at the murder scenes, and break the case wide open.
Keller meets Helen (Ellen Barkin) at one of these undercover dates. She blows him off early on, before she even comes close to leaving a fingerprint on anything. When they meet accidentally soon thereafter, though, a spark is lit, and the two are lovers before you can say Jack Sprat. Frank puts his feelings for Helen above his job, thereby leaving Helen hanging out there as a possible murder suspect. This is where all of the suspense comes in; is she or isn't she? The story zigs and zags both ways on the question, leaving the viewer in a measure of doubt until the very end. The whole thing turns into a weird love story for the most part, with Frank trying to avoid losing Helen even as he sometimes wonders whether she's the killer he's looking for. It is quite suspenseful, largely thanks to Ellen Barkin's very strong performance. The ultimate ending's a little weak, but that takes nothing at all away from the sustained mystery that will command your rapt attention all the way up to that point.
It's not hard to see why the movie was so successful. It just goes to show what good acting and a reasonably strong script can do for a movie. There are probably two camps when it comes to the ending, I should note – but it's not a hate it or love it thing. Some will not find it all that surprising, while others may feel as if it comes right out of left field. Either way, Sea of Love is a film that all fans of steamy thrillers can lose themselves in and, at the very least, come out feeling reasonably satisfied.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 March 2015
Sorry ‘Al’ fans but this for me was a typical later ‘Pacino’ movie – he’s a little wooden and hammy. I don’t know who writes his scripts but they do him no favours at times. I much prefer his early stuff.
The overall film isn’t too bad, it has a reasonable story line that keeps you locked in - I quite enjoyed it. Both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb gave it 6.5/10, which I feel is about right.
The highlight for me was Ellen Barkin, as Helen Cruger, who I thought was first class, she had a figure to die for – to use New York parlance, her legs went right up to the 23rd floor! John Goodman was also very watchable. The film (1989) was nearly 20 years into Al’s career. It was very successful financially, costing 19 million $ to make and taking in 111 million $! It failed to lift any awards but I do feel Ellen Barkin should have received something for having pins as good as that!
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on 28 March 2015
although this is a dated movie, as can be seen by the filming, some of the acting is superb and a treat to watch. overall the film is good if somewhat predictable... but thoroughly enjoyable if you are a pacino fan...
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 June 2014
I bought this on VHS firstly then later DVD (another accidental rental viewing), normally a Pacino film is hugely followed, but this has escaped the attention of many fans for some reason. Which is a shame as the film is really very good.

Al Pacino plays homicide detective Frank Keller, who is investigating a series of unusual killings. The victims are always face down on the bed, male, naked and with a record playing "sea of love". Keller teams up with Detective Sherman Touhey (John Goodman) from another district to try to track down the killer as more victims turn up. Eventually they work out that the men who are murdered all placed personal ads in the lonely hearts local paper columns, they try to catch the killer placing their own ads in the paper.

However the story takes a nice twist from that to it's eventual conclusion (which I won't spoil) Keller also develops a love interest in the form of Helen Cruger (Ellen Barkin) a recently divorced woman whom has a hot/cold relationship with.

Acting is solid as ever from Pacino (yes he has his temper moments as per his usual trademark, but I like it all the same) Goodman injects some nice humour in places too, and Ellen Barkin is convincing as the hard to handle girlfriend. Story wise I like it, nice twist at the end. Maybe it doesn't take lots of repeated viewings (once the story is known it does lose some impact) But still an overlooked "good" thriller that deserving of a watch. Maybe not quite the 5 star film, it's not far off it though.
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on 31 January 2013
I will not comment on the film itself as it is in my opinion a classic 80s film and well worth owning.
My comments however will be directed at the somewhat poor transfer to Blu-ray, I have owned the DVD version for several years and although the picture quality was a little flat lacking in contrast in the darker scenes I can understand that this may possibly be the way the director wanted it to appear.
As it does give the film a somewhat foreboding atmosphere, however one of the things that did stand out on the original DVD was that many scenes but not all suffer from an overall pink to light purple colour cast, this spoils the overall enjoyment of the film in my opinion as colour cast changes from scene to scene are quite noticeable in as much as some scenes seem to be perfectly colour balanced followed by several scenes with pinkish colour cast.
I would have hoped that someone might have taken the trouble to correct this problem during a Blu-ray transfer, but unfortunately this doesn't seem to be the case, in fact if anything due to the higher quality this colour cast problem seems to be even more prominent.
Overall the sound quality is excellent but I'm afraid I have to remove two stars for picture transfer due to the colour cast, having said this the picture sharpness and contrast does appear slightly better than the original DVD so I will be keeping this Blu-ray.
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on 11 May 2013
Good movie,i was entertained.good acting and the plot keep you interested until the end,i am a big fan of Al pacino anyway.
its not a classic like the godfather or once upon a time in America but is good enough to have this film on your collection.
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on 5 May 2013
Bought this as i am a big Pacino fan. Had seen it before on television a few years back and remembered liking it, so decided to buy it on blue-ray.

The plot consists of two new york city cops (Pacino and Goodman) trying to track down a serial killer who seems to choose victims from lonely hearts columns. Added to this is Pacino's involvement with one of the suspects (Ellen Barkin) which provides much of the film's tension and eroticism e.g. is she or is she not the killer. The film builds pretty well and its only the ending which disappoints a bit.

Al Pacino is very good as always and John Goodman is a standout, Ellen Barkin also does a good job as Pacino's love interest.

The picture on the Blue-ray is good but there are no extras which was a bit of a disappointment, it would have been nice to see a documentary or heard a commentary. The film is very good though and i would recommend it to anyone who likes Al Pacino or likes this type of film.
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