New Streaming Releases: Tainted (2020) - Reviewed

No matter how unappealing a movie might be to me, and especially when I’m watching something for the express purpose of review, I try to look for anything redeemable, and most times that’s fairly easy to do. Sometimes, the movie isn't to my taste, but I can imagine its audience. Most times, even if the movie misses the mark, there is a standout performance, scene, or SOMETHING to note, just so I don’t have to give an abysmal review.  

Sadly, the only praise I can afford to give to Tainted is for two or three beautiful sunset landscape shots. Well, that is, unless you like white guys talking on the phone to one another, with some light action peppered in. Then, you might really dig this one. 

Tainted is about Lance Hunter, an apparently reformed Neo-Nazi (with a double-violent name) who has just served a fifteen year prison sentence. He hopes to live a peaceful life, but he gets ensnared into one last job with the Russian mob while falling for his waifish and spunky female musician neighbor. What bugs me about this movie is that there is little to no filmic evidence that this Neo-Nazi has reformed in any way. The audience gets no information on his time served, who he met, what he encountered, or even his offending crime. He simply gets out of jail at the beginning of the movie and proceeds to brood. At one point, he enters a tattoo parlor with intentions of having his swastika tattoo covered up. Inside the shop, a black female tattoo artist barely speaks, but declines to give him service. Am I supposed to feel bad for him here? Later, this prick plugs in an iron, and in a laughably melodramatic scene, I guess he burns the tattoo off with the hot iron. I was distracted for a while after that scene, wondering what that would look like--wouldn’t it just be a blurry swastika on burnt up skin? They never show it again, so I think the audience is supposed to believe that he removed his tattoo that way. In any event, I am not rooting for this guy because I don’t have enough reason to.

I will leave it up to the viewers to decide whether or not Lance’s actions with the Russian mob ultimately redeem his shady past. Personally, I say no. Fuck Nazis and movies that try to make me sympathize with them.  

--Mara Powell