Owen Gleiberman
September 17, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Boxing Helena

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Sherilyn Fenn, Julian Sands, Bill Paxton, Kurtwood Smith
director
Jennifer Lynch
author
Jennifer Lynch
genre
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C-

Soft-core trash with a tent-show hook. Dyspeptic British actor Julian Sands plays a nerd surgeon obsessed with the snooty vixen Helena (Sherilyn Fenn). When she’s hit by a car, he imprisons her in his mansion, amputating her legs and, eventually, her arms. Is the image of this ravishing torso misogynistic or merely mindless? Mostly the latter, as the film devolves into a languid duet between the scathingly contemptuous Fenn and the gawky, desperate Sands. Writer-director Jennifer Chambers Lynch tries to appropriate the voluptuous dream style of her father, David, but the result — erotomania as lurid camp — looks more like Psycho remade by Zalman (”Wild Orchid”) King. Fenn, at least, has a bitch-goddess verve. She makes you glad the movie didn’t star Kim Basinger or — horrors!-Madonna.

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