Kept (2001) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Kept (2001) is a straight to vid that started out to be a mystery thriller. Michelle von Flotow plays the wife of a prominent architect. She and her husband have a very open relationship, and as the film opens, she is practicing sexual asphyxiation with an unidentified young man. 

For those less daring, that is when you prevent the man from breathing with a cord until he is about to pass out. When you let go, he lets go, supposedly in a big way. After the sex, the young man leaves her house and is strangled by someone with an identical cord.

Cut to inter-spliced scenes of two detectives, (Ice T and Yvette Nipar) who are assigned to the case, and Paul Michael Robinson, who is about to compete for a summer apprenticeship with guess whose architectural firm so he can stay in school. Sure enough, he wins over the competition, and it takes almost no time for Flotow to seduce him, and move him into her love nest. We quickly learn that hubby watches on a nifty closed circuit TV. 


Michelle von Flotow shows buns and boobs several times. 
The police nose around, the killer panics and commits another murder, and the director panics and shows us the murderer's face. 

But ....

We then have another 30 minutes of the director trying to convince someone -- possibly the police, possibly Robinson, and possibly us -- that the husband did it. Guess what, it really was the face we saw, someone who was hardly in the story. Ice T and Yvette Nipar developed two great characters, but they meshed like a precision watch stuffed with sandy peanut butter. Sort of reverse synergy. Remember in the Color of Money when Newman told Cruise that he was a natural flake? Both of the detectives were natural flakes, but two flakes together just stole each other's thunder.

I may be the first to have seen this film judging by the total lack of information at IMDB. It is not all bad, although the sex scenes are too long for a mystery and too short for a soft core.

I still don't understand why the director took away the mystery at the two-thirds mark. Not very mysterious.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen 

  • no significant features

Scoop's comments in yellow:

How many B movies a year does Ice-T make? Are we sure it isn't Eric Roberts with a really dark tan?

I think Tuna's comments are exactly right. The film is an erotic thriller trapped between the two sides of its personality. Not enough sex to be a softcore, but not slick enough to be a thriller. While it is not very good at either eroticism or thrills, neither is not totally bad at either, except for Van Flotow's acting level, which is ... um ... in the inchoate stage. I have to rate it low as eroticism because all the sex scenes are filmed in the cliched "body part close-up" shots. I think there's only one scene in the movie where you can see who the body parts belong to!!

Add some better camera angles in the sex scenes, eliminate the "spoiler" (which I didn't catch), reduce Van Flotow's dialogue to a bare minimum, show her breasts and face together, and you'd have a watchable little erotic thriller. 

As erotic films go, it has a better plot than most, and I actually would have enjoyed it if the director hadn't made that strange decision to let us see the murderer. The characterizations weren't bad, and the two cops, Ice T and Yvette Nipar, brought some personality to the film. It was a pretty funny idea to use Joe Friday vocal tones, and cutback one shots, to deliver suggestive lines. 

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D as a softcore sex film, a D as a thriller.

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