on March 22, 1996 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
Dennis Cooper's controversial novel about gay sadomasochism has been turned into an effective, albeit pointless, movie revolving around two long-time friends, Dennis (Michael Gunther) and Julian (Raoul O'Connell), with differing attitudes toward sex, pain and pleasure. "Frisk" attempts to look at the pornography and imagery that fuel their fantasies. Dennis has been attracted to "snuff" images, and he hooks up with masochistic Henry (Craig Chester), who likes to be bloodied during the act. After a sojourn in Paris, Julian just wants to settle down and be monogamous. But the two drift apart when Dennis becomes involved with San Francisco thrill killers. More descriptive than explicit, "Frisk" is certainly disturbing, lifting the veil on extreme sexual practices rarely dealt with seriously in film. But director/co-scripter Todd Verow fails to make the audience care about his characters; his matter-of-fact movie is occasionally startling but never riveting. Starring Michael Gunther, Craig Chester, Raoul O'Connell and Parker Posey. Directed by Todd Verow. Written by George Lavco, James Dwyer and Todd Verow. Produced by Marcus Hu and Jon Gerrans. A Strand release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 83 min.
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