Posted October 5, 2007 in Film

Linda Riss, a 21-year-old beauty from the Bronx, wasn’t impressed when gawky lawyer Burt Pugash ran up five decades ago and professed his love. But when her mercenary grandma heard about his nightclub, powder-blue Cadillac and private plane, she advised Linda, “If he’s better-looking than the devil, he’s good-looking.” Burt might have scraped by in looks (he resembled a praying mantis in a tailored suit), but between his secret wife and child and his sociopathic streak, his personality wasn’t much sweeter than Satan’s. After Linda left him for a handsome younger man, Burt’s stalking escalated into violence as he vowed to make the traffic-stopping dame “damaged merchandise.” And he did. So why did she marry him 16 years later? As director Dan Klores follows their unnerving romance with a journalistic restraint that quietly twists around your throat, his captivating documentary reveals Burt and Linda as the dark archetypes of the Mars-Venus war: he needs control and possession, she feeds off his money and guilt. Unless your relationship is in tip-top health, Crazy Love isn’t a date film, as the nearly-committed Burt makes love look like a mental disease. (Cupid as Nurse Ratched?) Then again, unless your sweetie has recently hired three goons to beat you down, you’ll leave the theater—still shaking off the claws of this unforgettable true-life tale—feeling as blessed as Cinderella and Prince Charming. (Amy Nicholson) 


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