Whoever thinks a little fantasizing never hurt anybody might be challenged by SECRET FRIENDS, a bizarre British import that journeys though the mind of a guilt-ridden schizophrenic artist who finds himself on a train, with no recollection of how he got there, where he is going, or even who he is. Offering no resolution, this strange film is filled with explicit sex scenes, mind-altering flashbacks and repressive upbringing by Bible-thumping parents.
Whoever thinks fantasizing never hurt anybody did not see SECRET FRIENDS, a nasty little British import in which the hero’s fantasies are more harmful than he intended. Riding the train to a business appointment, John, a psychotic botanical artist, bares his mind to the camera, and the audience is exposed to painful, non-entertaining scenes of adultery, deceit, insanity, and murder, which may or may not have happened. John’s wife and the wife of a friend with whom John apparently has had a one-night stand, alternately play the roles of prostitutes. John has his wife kill everyone he feels deserves to die for one reason or another. And, John has a secret friend who turns out to be none other than himself, only more cynical and rebellious.
To complete this ill-conceived plot, the audience is again exposed to a potent dose of clergy bashing. John’s father is a Bible-thumping, tyrannical, Anglican minister, who is the root of John’s dysfunction. It is hard to fathom, how a film which fails in so many ways, including its inability to create any sort of sustained tension or suspense, could have received so many favorable reviews in New York City.
1 William B. Guidry_is a film critic currently working on a political novel. This article originally appeared in the Cultural Currents section of the NEW AMERICAN Volume 8, issue 2, January 27, 1992. For more information, please call or write:
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(LL, VVV, NN, SS, Ab) Over 10 obscenities & 5 profanities; surrealistic flashbacks, man murders woman with axe, man forces his wife to dress like prostitute, & man dreams of murdering his spouse; female nudity; explicit sex scenes and adultery; and, repressive upbringing by Bible-thumping parents.