Drama, Romance, Thriller

Top Model (1987)

Comments Off on Top Model (1987) 16 June 2015

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Studio:  Varo Film

Distributed By:  One 7 Movies

DVD Release:  September 9, 2014

Director:  Mario Bariazzo

Rating:  Not Rated

Reviewed By James M. Dubs

I’ll watch anything…including Top Model.

Here at UnRatedfilm.com we specialize in reviewing niche films that are not typically designed for mass consumption. Sure we’ve reviewed the occasional Hollywood classic (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Call Her Savage), but a vast majority of the films we screen are little known indie-horror (The Devil’s Business, Reel Zombies), or the hard-to-find oddities (Night Train to Terror, Curtains, Runaway Nightmare) that require a more dedicated fan base. And even though I claim to watch “anything” I should probably put an asterisk with my opening statement. I do exclude a sizable niche market, namely x-rated adult entertainment, of which I have neither the expertise nor interest in critiquing (However, many of my colleagues do, if that’s your thing).

For the right target audience looking for an Italian-made, scintillating, erotic-thriller starring exotic French beauty Florence Guérin, Mario Bariazzo’s L’attrazione (re-titled Top Model for this release) may be the kind of soft-core sleaze to get you stiff.

Film Rating: ★★★☆☆

Top Model_1The proper English translation for L’attrazione is “The Attraction” which will prove to be a more proper title than Top Model. Unfortunately, I was not immediately attracted to L’attrazione in part because I am not among the target audience. When I think of the best erotic-thrillers some of my top choices include Basic Instinct, Body Double, Fatal Attraction, and Eyes Wide Shut. L’attrazione is none of these.

However, with every niche film I see the reasons why someone may be drawn to a particular film, actress, or genre. In the case of L’attrazione, fanatics of Italian exploitation will have plenty to drool over especially considering Florence Guérin gives the viewer plenty of chances to get an eye-full…

Top Model_4L’attrazione begins with Nadine (Florence Guérin) alone and on board a train in a private boxcar. She moves to the window and behind her the door opens. In walks a stranger. We do not see his face and neither person speaks. The man moves up behind Nadine, caressing her. After the couple finish their sexual escapade, the man leaves as silently as he entered. Nadine moves to the door, opens it, but the mystery man is gone. Was it a dream? Who the hell knows, because the scene immediately following shows Nadine driving and she seems neither concerned nor impacted by her erotic encounter on the train.

Nadine arrives at the lavish villa of wealthy businessman and European bank chairman Victor Schneider (Marino Masé). The stated reason for her visit is to seek permission to shoot a lingerie photo spread with a host of beautiful models in Victor’s home. Victor’s wife, Luciana (Martin Brochard), seems confident that her husband will not warrant such activities, but from the moment Victor sees Nadine, not only does he permit the photo shoot, it is clear that Victor will seek opportunities to keep Nadine around as long as possible.

Top Model_6.5The photo shoot comes and goes, but before Nadine leaves, Victor invites her to stay as his guest to challenge him in a game of chess. The stakes? Love and death. If Victor wins he wants Nadine. If Nadine wins, Victor’s death. It’s an outlandish wager, defying logic, but no more confusing and head scratching than the opening train sequence. As the days pass and match continues, chess pieces fall, and the “payment” for a lost chess piece typically gets collected in the form of sexual favors, offering several chances to see Florence Guérin in her birthday suit.

Meanwhile, Luciana seems to be scheming with Victor’s secretary Valeria (Ann Margaret Hughes). The nature of their scheme is clouded in mystery and won’t be revealed until the final moments. However, Luciana seems concerned about hiding her dark past, while Valeria seems to have other diabolical motives in addition to her hidden desires for Victor.

Top Model_8My primary problem with L’attrazione is that I found it to be a bore. The nudity and soft-core action would have stirred my 16-year-old desires if I had caught it on late night Cinemax many years ago. However in the current year, at my current age, the seemingly never ending simulated sex scenes do nothing to stir any emotion in me. Nor does any of it serve the plot. It’s simply eye candy, but that’s not a complaint because rest assured the women in L’attrazione are beautiful.

If you strip away all of the sex, what’s left is a very confounding movie. To start, why would two strangers engage in a chess game to the death? What’s to gain? We don’t know enough about either character to explain such a death wish. If that’s not confusing enough, in one sequence Luciana gives Nadine a sedative in her tea to help her sleep. Later, Victor sneaks into Nadine’s room. As the musical soundtrack swells with a sexy saxophone ballad, Victor exposes Nadine’s breasts, fondles her, and performs cunnilingus on her passed out body. Since when did rape become sexy? The scene becomes all the more confusing as the musical accompaniment tries to convince you that what you’re watching is sexy and stimulating, but your absent erection will probably disagree.

Top Model_5My criticisms all boil down to bad story telling. Most films give away or explain too much. L’attrazione suffers from a plot structure that gives away too little until the very end. I will admit that upon a second viewing I enjoyed the movie much more, but only because I could observe different nuances in the characters and knew key back story elements that took the weirdness and confusion out of many key sequences. Would you believe me if I told you the rape scene may not be rape?

And that may speak to what makes L’attrazione successful. By the film’s conclusion, everything is buttoned up enough to answer all mysteries and leave you generally satisfied, but L’attrazione is not a film for the uninitiated. Unless you know, understand, and are accustomed to the film language and style of Italian exploitation cinema, you may feel as shell shocked as I did upon first viewing.

Video & Audio Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Top Model_3As indicated in the screenshots, image aspect ratio comes way of a 4:3 or 1.33:1 “pillar boxing” on HDTVs, but will fill the screen for those of you still rocking out your cathode ray tube television sets. Those of you with the old CRT TV may enjoy L’attrazione’s near VHS like quality. To be fair, I would rank the video quality somewhere above VHS but below showroom DVD quality.

The Italian language mono track gets the job done, but little else. English subtitles can be turned on or off. What I find most interesting is that upon deep observation the actors mouth movements came incredibly close to mouthing the English subtitles. This is not unnatural considering many of the great Italian spaghetti westerns would film American actors speaking English and Italian actors speaking their native tongue (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) and post dub separate audio tracks later. So it is not inconceivable to imagine an English speaking track exists and would be welcomed considering the amount of bonus features on the DVD.

Extras Rating: N/A

Top Model_2Zero extras. On one hand I understand because the kind of people who buy this will just want it regardless. On the other hand, since the target market is already pretty specific, couldn’t they throw the fans some crumbs?

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Top Model_7Initially I hated L’attrazione. Upon a second viewing and some reflection, I softened my opinion and came to appreciate the film for what it was. But most people don’t have the time to delve so diligently into their entertainment. Nor are they critiquing films, looking for the finer points, or weighing the film value against the target audience. For the casual viewer, like my late mother (God rest her soul), she would view L’attrazione as pure nonsensical trash, and largely she would be correct. L’attrazione is a film that will only be enjoyed by a very specific audience. Unless you count yourself among the aficionados of Italian made, soft-core, exploitation schlock, don’t bother with One 7 Movies’ Top Model DVD. The rest of you already know you want this DVD so you can chapter select your favorite Florence Guérin nudie scene.


- who has written 70 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

James Dubs is a father and husband who loves his family first and movies a close second. He believes every movie is worth watching once and, as a film fan and critic, believes that even the worst movies offer something in return. His mission is to watch anything and report without pretension. Follow James Dubs on Twitter and send him suggestions on movies you would like reviewed - popular, obscure, independent, etc. He'll watch anything for you.

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