What is it about certain truly bad movies and their ability to provoke heated (as opposed to passionate) and angry (as opposed to intelligent) argumentation (as opposed to debate) in a way that few exceptional films lend to similar occasions of provocation? Such an example of a cinematic offering examining legitimately provocative themes in an illegitimate manner- befitting the perspective of a sexual predator -is Lamont Johnson’s infuriatingly prurient 1976 film “Lipstick”; the boundaries of film’s thematic pop culture psychological entanglement, crossing from the subliminal to the consciously overt, becomes the excuse for a not so thinly veiled exercise in unbridled misogyny masquerading as a social statement. In that regard, it might be a generally useful caveat to beware of films which include empowered female legal representatives, whose sole function is to accommodate the appetites of indignant righteousness, as they are usually included only as an excuse for the filmmakers to then feel the justification to exploit the most rancid, salacious aspects of their subject with a self-endorsement of enlightened impunity. It’s shameless exploitation under the guise of high-minded righteousness.
For a film which eventually reveals to have little on its mind, it asks a great deal from its audience, raising provocative issues which it’s not prepared to accommodate; for instance, the possibility of a connective catalyst existing between the industry of seductive, sexually charged imagery in high fashion glamour and an unintended response in the form of desirous action to that stimulus; touching upon a popular psychological excuse for aberrant, extreme (usually violent) social behavior, though disclaiming any genuine insight nor willingness to consider the any contemplation beyond the most shamelessly convenient which allows for the most profane exploitation of the lead actress, debuting model Margaux Hemingway (grand-daughter of the literary Papa) and, even more revoltingly, her real-life younger sister Mariel, here playing fictional siblings who are menaced both by the same predatory character.
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