Sea of Love (1989)

Good ole’ Al Pacino doing what he does best.

Lonely, burnt-out NYPD detective Frank Keller (Al Pacino) is on the hunt for a serial killer who uses personal ads to attract potential victims in director Harold Becker’s taut, suspenseful thriller. Unfortunately, Frank falls hard for Helen (Ellen Barkin), the alluring top suspect in the case. Now, their white-hot attraction could save him — or kill him.

Pacino, during the 80’s, was basically doing nothing. He made starred in crap-fests like Cruising, Author! Author!, and the even worse, Revolution. So when this film came out, it was quite a relief to get a film that had Pacino doing something, other than just collecting paychecks.

The film works really well, especially when it comes to its suspense/mystery feel. Everything starts out as your typical thriller, with the murders happening, then when Pacino and Barkin start dating, the slight suspicion in the movie, is that the person you are with, might just possibly be the killer themselves. I liked how they fell in love, because it wasn’t a generic way, they both started out as opposites, and then soon realized there was this sexual attraction between each other, that they both wanted. This is all fairly predictable stuff, but the scenes between Barkin and Pacino are steamy and sizzling.

I have a feeling though that now seeing this, I probably won’t remember it too much after a week or two. I mean it is a good popcorn flick, however, that’s really all it is. It does work as a good “who done it” thriller, but overall, nothing amazing happened. The climax too, felt really dumb, and just totally implausible. We never get any clues, or even an idea, that the person who is actually doing these crimes, actually is, and when it pops up who actually did do it, I didn’t believe it all.

Al Pacino gives off that great, funny man charm, that is Al Pacino. He plays this cop, that at first you feel bad for, cause he hates his life so much, then you realize that this guy is cool as ish, and you want him to prevail in finding the killer. Ellen Barkin is good as this steamy, sexy lady, that steals Pacino’s heart, mostly cause she is just a fire in bed, and who can’t resist that. These two make a good piece of chemistry on-screen, which helps the film in the end. Also, John Goodman, is well, good here, and brings a lot of comedy to the film.

Consensus: Sea of Love has two great performances from Barkin and, the ever so cool Pacino, along with some good mystery, but in the end is just another meaningless pop-corn flick, with an ending, that just doesn’t mean much.



  1. Yeah, this was his comeback film after the terrible Revolution. I liked Cruising though! You are right – nothing great here, but it was a fun movie and the Pacino-Goodman relationship was a good one to watch!

  2. I’ve seen most of Pacino’s movies, but never this one. Doesn’t sound terrible, and seeing as he only did a handful of work back in the 80’s I wouldn’t mind checking it out merely from curiosity. Thanks for posting.

  3. Let us all remember 1970s Al Pacino, back when he was on that “Godfather”/”Serpico” hot streak. Lately he’s become a scenery-chewing maniac nothing like the reserved actor he once was.

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