Romeo Is Bleeding

Review by Ty McLemore

Peter Medak

Lead Actors
Gary Oldman, Lena Olin, Juliette Lewis, Annabella Sciorra, Roy Scheider

Paul Webster and Hilary Henkin

Plot synopsis

A crooked New York cop, Jack Grimaldi ( Gary Oldman ) plays both the mob and police against one another, resulting in hefty paydays and lofty privileges for him. His favorite pastime is leaking the whereabouts of federally-protected witnesses to crime bosses who have them “disappear” before they can testify in a court of law.

Mafia boss Don Falcone ( Roy Scheider ) assigns him the task of killing Russian mobster Mona Demarkov ( Lena Olin ) whom he fears is encroaching on his territory and his vast wealth.  Mona, who is as cunning, psychotic and dangerous as she is beautiful, is more than a handful for Jack and will ultimately be his undoing.

The two engage in an erotic, sadistic, and at times, comical game of cat and mouse as Jack’s entanglement with Mona becomes deeper and more precarious by the day. 

Who Would Like It

Anyone who is a Gary Oldman fan or fancies a well-written, well-acted crime drama. Oldman has the ability to play a wide array of flawed, wacky, but fascinating characters, and often forces the viewer to sympathize with him.

Olin is every bit the Femme Fatale and has Oldman helplessly ensnared in her web. The chemistry between these two is immeasurable and makes for an excellent movie.

Who Might Not Like It

Non-Gary Oldman fans or those who may be opposed to graphic violence.


In one scene, Mona has persuaded Jack to fake her death and kill Falcone, whereby he will be paid more than he was previously offered. As they converse in the car, she slyly wraps a wire noose around his neck and attempts to strangle him.

Jack breaks free, pulls his revolver and shoots Mona in the leg. He then handcuffs and pushes her to the back seat and urgently drives away. Mona, while MANIACALLY laughing and NOW clad in a bra, panties and stockings, places her legs over his neck and again attempts to asphyxiate him as he navigates the backstreets of the city.

A crash ensues, rendering Jack unconscious. Mona, though badly injured and now hysterically SCREAMING, climbs from the wreckage and escapes barefoot with a briefcase of money clenched in her teeth.


In another, Jack awakens in a strange room while held captive and handcuffed to an iron bed.  Moments later, Mona appears wearing a trench coat and brandishing a handgun. After several moments of taunting, she removes the coat revealing perky breasts and a leather S & M apparatus.

She straddles Jack and coyly asks what his preference is – in regards to her NEW prosthetic arm! Mona severed her limb earlier in a twisted attempt to add credibility to her “death” and questions whether he prefers to engage in sex WITH or WITHOUT it.

His deadpan response is without, whereby she unhooks a strap and tosses the limb onto a table while uncontrollably laughing.