The Last Seduction (1994)
The femme fatale was a staple of 1940s film noir: an unusually attractive and downright coldhearted woman who knows how to get what she wants by using her own femininity and sexuality to lure unsuspecting men into her trap. She's often the smartest character in the film, able to play everyone else like a piano, and do anything it takes for power and money. The Last Seduction recalls this great archetype and gives us a femme fatale so evil that it's just a joy to watch her operate.
Linda Fiorentino plays the woman in question, Bridget Gregory, who right off the bat steals $700,000 from her husband, Clay (Bill Pullman), who got that money from illegally selling drugs that was able to acquire as a doctor. Bridget hightails it out of New York City and ends up hiding out in a town called Beston in upstate New York, where she plans to live under an assumed name, Wendy Kroy, until things cool down and she can return to New York.
It is in Beston that she meets her patsy, a local man seeking love and affection named Mike (Peter Berg), who falls hard for "Wendy" when he meets her in a bar. Bridget uses Mike for sex, but he constantly tries to pry into her personal life, which she will have no part of. She scares him a bit when she starts talking about killing bad men for money, and when he will not relent with his quest for personal details, she pushes back on him about his secret from when he lived in Buffalo. Despite all of this, Mike cannot resist her charms, but we get the feeling that something bad is going to go down when Clay finally catches up with Bridget--that is, unless she can get to him first.
The Last Seduction was directed by John Dahl, and originally played on cable TV after being passed over by distributors. After it proved to be a great success, the film then received a theatrical release--quite an unusual scenario. At any rate, this is a very good film with some excellent characters. Bridget is the kind of character that you love to hate, because she manages to manipulate situations so well, and even though she's diabolical, you have to give her credit, because she's damn smart and she knows exactly what she's doing.
However, I make a judgment on recommending a film based on whether I would add the movie to my DVD collection, and with this film, I didn't feel any special desire to do so. It's clever, but it's not overwhelming clever. It's thrilling in parts, but I wasn't on the edge of my seat. It's funny sometimes, but my chuckles never escalated to a guffaw. And while it makes the viewer think while watching it, afterwards there isn't much reflection to be done. But if you're looking to be entertained for a couple of hours, you could do a lot worse than The Last Seduction.
April 27, 2005