Doug Brod
June 03, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Dangerous Game is crude, muddled, and inconsistent, but for all its tortured dialogue about spiritual being and emotional death, Abel Ferrara’s gutter-level companion piece to his supremely squalid Bad Lieutenant exerts a peculiar lyrical fascination. Touching on all his usual themes — sex, drugs, violence, degradation, and redemption — Game focuses on the psychodrama that spills off the set of an art film about a troubled marriage: The pretentious director (Harvey Keitel) sleeps with the slick television actress (Madonna), while the live-wire leading man (James Russo) ODs on the Method. Game got a bum rap when it was released theatrically (Madonna’s not that bad), but video better serves its frequently raw, verite sequences and heightens the intensity of the almost unbearably intimate setting. C+

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