Anyone for up for some bad erotic psychodrama? Well, Tattoo is just the ticket then. Combine one wretched actress, a dash of bad 80s fashion and music, a laughable script from Joyce Bunuel (daughter of legendary director Luis Bunuel), and one of the most infamous sex scenes in cinema, bring to a low boil, and, presto, you have Tattoo.
Tattoo is essentially the story of a wacko tattoo artist, played by career Hollywood loony, Bruce Dern. After visiting Japan and becoming enamored of the intricate tattooing, Dern returns home to become a tattoo artist. To him, tattoos are spiritual, thus he calls it "the mark".
Anyway, he is hired by a local fashion rag to paint his designs onto the bodies of some models to promote a new swimsuit line. There, Dern meets up with an internationally famous fashion model, played by Maud Adams. Now, a word about Maud. Like Marguax Hemingway in Lipstick before her, Adams may be gorgeous, but she can't act, but apparantly film studios of the time were under the mistaken impression that supermodels were the next big thing in acting. After this, Adams appeared as the title character in the James Bond flick Octopussy and essentially disappeared into B-movie oblivion.
Dern falls for Adams and they begin to date, even though she's married. At his apartment one evening, Adams tries to put the moves on Dern, who is having none of it, see. "Are you asking me to have intercourse with you?" he asks, right before throwing her out. Next, of course, come the repeated telephone calls and stalking, until he breaks into her apartment and kidnaps her. Dern steals her away to his late father's seaside home where he makes like The Collector and keeps Adams imprisoned. While she is unconscious, however, he proceeds to tattoo her body. They proceed to play mind games with each other. Dern wants to "make [her] clean" so she is "worthy of the mark" and Adams tries and fails to find things to stab him with. Adams eventually succumbs to Dern and allows her body to be completely tattooed, scarred for life as it were. Until, finally, Dern believes she is worthy. Then they have sex, until Adams takes the tattoo gun and stabs Dern to death. The end.
Yes, Tattoo is pure hooey. There are so many problems with it, it's hard to know where to start.
Maud Adams, as previously mentioned, is just awful. And, the technical aspect of tattoos and tattooing is mishandled as well. You see, tattoos bleed. Tattoos scab over. Tattoos take a little while to heal. In Tattoo, none of the tattoos bleed, even while they are being done. They all look picture perfect mere seconds after being completed. Also, the script, by Bunuel, is simply poorly contructed. It takes forever to finally get where it's going, and when it finally gets there you wish it would just end.
And now a word about the sex scene. Along with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie's dalliance in Don't Look Now, the sex scene finale her is considered one of the most famous, and along with Wild Orchid, it was also one of the most rumored about. There were claims by Dern and the producers that the sex was not simulated, much to Adams's denials and consternation. Regardless, it's not very erotic or well filmed, and will not please those who may have watched Tattoo for prurient reasons.
Tattoo is just a silly would-be erotic thriller that forgot to include the eroticism or the thrills.