Tattoo

Tattoo is a 1981 film starring Bruce Dern as a tattoo artist who becomes dangerously obsessed with a model. Directed by Bob Brooks, Tattoo examines dark themes and the deeper meaning of tattoos. Raised by a cruel and controlling father, Karl Kinsky (Dern) has become a judgmental man with buried anger and a fear of women. While visiting Japan, he witnesses a parade by a secret society of tattoo artists. He becomes deeply interested in the art and commits to it by receiving a full-body tattoo.

Eventually, he returns to the United States and opens a tattoo shop in New Jersey. A client hires him to provide temporary tattoos for a fashion show. There, he meets a model named Maddy (played by Maud Adams). She finds him interesting, but he is in conflict. In his eyes, she is living an immoral life.

She arrives at his shop and the story takes a dark turn. Kinsky kidnaps her, and holds her in captivity. Over time, he keeps her sedated and slowly tattoos her whole body, in order to show his “mark” of possession over her. She attempts to escape, but each time is thwarted.

This psychological thriller inspects the darker corners of gender roles, relationships, obsession, and control. Kinsky is man who was never taught how to connect with women, and he can only see them as an object to possess or own. His inability to relate to the opposite gender leads to his horrific decision to kidnap and torture Maddy as he is unable to navigate his feelings for her.

As the story hangs on understanding tattoo symbolism and culture, it features a considerable amount of tattoo art throughout. Kinsky is covered in traditional Japanese designs, and most of the other art featured in the film is also Asian in style. The film features strong themes and violence, it is for a mature audience.

R
| 1981 | 1 hr 43 min | 5.1/10
Cast
Bruce Dern, Maud Adams, Leonard Frey, Frederikke Borge
Director
Bob Brooks
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Tattoo
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Watch Tattoo Trailer

Tattoo (1981) Trailer|1:44
Tattoo (1981) Trailer|1:44