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Singapore Sling (1990)

Director: Nikos Nikolaidis
Starring: Panos Thanassoulis, Meredyth Herold, Michelle Valley
Not Rated  Running time: 111 minutes
Released by Synapse Films

A man is haunted by the mysterious disappearance by his former lover, a woman named Laura. He devotes his life to tracking her down, and his search leads him to a  remote mansion on a stormy night. Shortly after arriving, the man is wounded by an unknown assailant. While he lay unconscious and bleeding, two women arrive to help him.

The women, a mother and a daughter, take him inside the mansion, where they clean and mend his wounds. The man regains consciousness, and quickly discovers that these women didn't help him out of the goodness of their hearts -- they were looking for a new plaything. They begin calling him "Singapore Sling," and force him to participate a series of demented sexual games that would repulse even the most adventurous sort. The man begins to discover that the psychotic duo may hold the secret to his lost love's whereabouts, and that she may have been one of their previous "toys."

 This is one of those movies where describing the plot doesn't do the film justice. Singapore Sling is one strange movie. It's part film noir, part transgressive art flick, and is alternately fascinating, moving, disgusting, disturbing, and darkly humorous. There really aren't many movies like this. It's a beautifully made film full of people doing some very ugly things.

I haven't seen such an unpleasant mix of food, sex, and bodily functions since Dusan Makavejev's infamous Sweet Movie. But where Sweet Movie was trying to make a statement about human liberation in the face of oppressive regimes and institutions (I think), Singapore Sling seems to be making some kind of commentary about love and obsession. I think. Whatever the point, there's no doubt that director Nikos Nikolaidis wanted to shock audiences. I would say he succeeded, because there were many moments when I felt the need to avert my eyes from the screen.

As gross as the film is, it's also equally gorgeous. The black-and-white photography, the music, and the silent movie-style set design give Singapore Sling an element of class that serves as a sharp counterpoint to the horrible acts committed by the characters. It's filthy and beautiful, all at the same time. There's only three actors in the entire film, and each of them deserves an award for bravery. There aren't many actors out there who would be willing to puke on each other, unless they were getting paid big money. I don't think this movie had that kind of budget, so they must have done it for the "art." Good for them, I guess. I hope they had all their shots.

This movie is definitely not for the squeamish. It's well-made, with terrific acting and directing, but it's really hard to watch because of all the onscreen depravity. One thing is for certain, Singapore Sling is a film you will never forget.

Film buffs should note that Singapore Sling is essentially a nightmarish re-imaging of Otto Preminger's Laura, only with way more vomit.