A serial killer brutally slays and dismembers several gay men in New York’s S&M and leather districts. The young police officer Steve Burns (Al Pacino) is sent undercover onto the streets as decoy for the murderer. Working almost completely isolated from his department, he has to learn and practice the complex rules and signals of this little society. While barely seeing his girlfriend Nancy anymore, the work starts changing him.
Based on Gerald Walker’s novel, director William Friedkin, in my opinion, adapted the book in a mysterious way. We get to observe the “underground gay scene” in New York City of the 80s, where we are confronted with it’s sexy secretes, it’s danger and crazy fantasy’s. Steve Burns, played by Pacino, takes this case, to find the killer who has gay victims only. This movie definitely deserved its R-rating, we get to see a couple of lavish sex scenes. The homosexuals in this film are, to a man, deviants who all hang out in clubs having anonymous sex with multiple partners in clubs and parks - a few unnecessary cliches. But the film is also about the consequences of homophobia, i.e. social conditions that lead to terrible police brutality, self hate and murder. Pacino did a great job, even though he unfortunately didn’t get to do, what we know he’s capable of. Also he was mad because they cut his acting (some scenes) because of protests.