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One of my favorite films. Linda Fiorentino is wonderful as the evil Bridgit. Your mouth keeps dropping open as you say "She can't be about to do that," and then she does. When I first saw the film in a packed theater the audience was audibly gasping at some of the plot twists. Do yourself a favor if you're seeing it for the first time, go in knowing nothing at all about the story. Part of the fun is the rollar coaster ride of what happens next. Highly recommended!
I loved this one because I couldn't get over the heights of carnality and the depths of sociopathic evil the characters were capable of achieving. Linda Fiorentino played perhaps the most despicably rotten, heartless, conniving, using bitch I've ever had the pleasure of watching. Pullman was great as the reaper of retribution intent on giving evil for evil. Peter Berg may have stolen the show with his total inability to say no to his own destruction. It was hard to believe the abyss of stupidity these 2 dopes had the capacity to plumb. Guess that's what happens when the little head takes over the thought processes for the big head, eh? The picture started out a little slow but developed into a real blowout with a jaw dropping finale. All the folks got exactly what they deserved. All of them.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a European writer of crime fiction I often lament the contrived 'happy endings' of most American movies, so I was pleased with The Last Seduction, and its main character Bridget Gregory, a bitch who not only goes unpunished for her cruel and heartless behaviour, but is actually rewarded for her skill in manipulating the hapless men around her. Fiorentino's sardonic portrayal of Bridget is fantastic, you can see the gears of manipulation turning behind every calculating look she casts around. And instead of making her evil, this just makes her intelligent and ruthless, something a lot of women would like to be. A highly enjoyable movie.
This is the story of Bridget (Linda Fiorentino), a tall (5'7"),
slender, throaty voiced brunette who cheats her husband (Bill Pullman)
out of some drug money and runs for it. She heads to "cow country"
where she hooks up with nice guy Mike (Peter Berg) and makes him her
designated [BLEEP]. But when her husband comes knocking on her door
intending to take back his money (and sends a series of guys after her)
Bridget gets ready to kill him and set Mike up for the fall.
Had this been properly released in theaters, it could very well have put Fiorentino on the map, maybe even gotten her an Oscar for best actress in the role of the femme fatale. I wasn't exactly rooting for her, but she sure was compelling to watch and very sexy.
And speaking of sexy, the film features some very powerful sex scenes that put just about everything we've ever seen in the James Bond films to shame. Oh what a Bond girl Linda Fiorentino would have made, and after seeing her stripped naked here, you'll agree.
An incredibly amoral and very sexy woman (Linda Fiorentino) is on the
lam from her husband (Bill Pullman) after stealing thousands of dollars
from him. She travels to a small town and gets involved with a sweet,
innocent man (Peter Berg)...but he's just her next victim.
There's a lot more to it but I won't give it away. The plot is intricate with many twists and turns. The dialogue sounds like it came from a 1940s noir (updated with swearing) but this isn't anything like those movies. This movie has graphic sex scenes and incredibly cruel acts that they could never get away with back then. It also has good acting by Berg and Pullman (who is very obviously enjoying himself). There's also good direction by John Dahl and an excellent score by Joseph Vitarelli which totally fits the tone of the film. But it's Fiorentino's show all the way--she's on screen almost all the time and her performance is superb. She's sexy and evil and actually enjoys using people--notice how she laughs after a few evil acts. Too bad this film premiered on cable--if it were a theatrical film first she would have been up for Best Actress.
Only two quibbles--at 110 minutes the nonstop evil and cruelty wears you down and I didn't buy a few things that happened at the climax. They seemed really unlikely and spoiled things a little. But those are minor complaints.
This is a good, evil film noir--well worth catching.
Director John Dahl's stylish film noir `Red Rock West' couldn't find a
distributor, played on cable television and then was picked up by a San
Francisco moviehouse where it set attendance records. If you think its
subsequent success taught Hollywood suits anything, you just aren't cut
for the movie business.
With an even better script by Steve Barancik, Dahl found the ideal lead to play the very fatale femme of `The Last Seduction.' Linda Fiorentino, someone else who hasn't been well served by Hollywood, gave one of the great performances of the 1990s as Bridget/Wendy. Her no-holds-barred potrayal perfectly matched Barancik's uncompromising writing. Fiorentino deserved an Oscar, but didn't qualify because this film also went straight to cable before finding a distributor and becoming a hit.
Limited resources can focus the mind. Dahl isn't the most sweepingly visual of directors, but he can provide the occasional arresting scene. With a small but outstanding cast of what were then B-list actors, everyday settings and a tiny budget, the director kept `The Last Seduction' focused on the basics needed to make this genre work.
Without revealing too much of the plot, Bridget is on the lam after stealing $700,000 in drug proceeds from her sleazy, abusive husband, well played by Bill Pullman just before he became a good-guy leading man. The late great J.T. Walsh is smooth as a silk suit as Bridget's attorney, who appreciates a cold-hearted bitch. Bill Nunn does yeoman work as the detective on her trail.
But the key to this sort of black widow movie is a willing sap, and Peter Berg makes one of the best. A lean slice of beecake, he's back in his small town after a disastrous fling in the big city, that is, Buffalo. He's looking to get out again, and when Bridget breezes into the local shot-and-beer joint with her `city trash' attitude, he's done for.
As another reviewer chooses to emphasize, with her skinny legs and barely pubescent, pancake-flat chest Linda Fiorentino is the scrawniest femme fatale in the history of film noir. But that just makes her and her character's progress more amusing. Like Bridget, Fiorentino gets over on attitude more than pulchritude.
While Fiorentino's physique won't make women viewers jealous, many respond enthusiastically to the sex scene where Bridget rides Berg's Mike against a fence behind the bar. In fact, there's hardly a standard bedroom scene: most of the sex is of the right-now kind. And while both seem to enjoy themselves a lot, Bridget is clearly in control, emotionally and physically.
In recent years, we've gotten used to zaftig super-women like Xena throwing men around. But perhaps not since the heyday of Diana Rigg on `The Avengers' has there been a thin, flat-chested woman who dominates males like Linda Fiorentino takes care of business here. Bridget certainly isn't a role model, but her enthusiasm for her work is infectious.
This movie also has the courage of its convictions. If it seems amoral, well just about every Arnold Schwartzenegger movie celebrates massive killing by so-called `good guys.' The only difference between this movie and Hollywood's standard murderous agit-prop is that `The Last Seduction' has a brain.
Unfortunately, great work doesn't always bring great rewards. Fiorentino was good in Kevin Smith's ramshackle low-budget `Dogma,' only to be dissed by the director. She was one of the best elements of the equally ramshackle but costly `Men in Black,' only to be booted from the sequel for more compliant girls. (In Hollywood's homoerotic subtext, `buddy movie' means no women allowed.)
Fiorentino did hook up aagin with John Dahl in the highly forgettable `Unforgettable,' weighed down by a bigger budget, second-rate script and Ray Liotta. Both the director and his leading lady are still in play, though, so we can hope they will find other siutations worthy of their talents. And if not, Linda Fiorentino makes `The Last Seduction' unforgettable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a modern spin on the film noir The Last Seduction works remarkably well. While it preserves many of the old stylistic touches from the genre, the script itself strays about as far from the rigid principles of yore as is possible. As with all exceptional films there are many factors that contribute towards its greatness: Peter Berg's portrayal of the hapless Mike, John Dahl's stylish direction, a clever and memorable soundtrack, and Bill Pullman as the ill-fated husband, to mention but a few. In all honesty though, and in spite of energetic performances all round from the cast, it is lead actress Linda Fiorentino whom this film will forever be remembered for. She is so perfect in this role in fact that her performance is likely to severely test any mans faith in women. Granted, the laissez-faire modern day censoring laws assist her because, unlike the femme fatales of the 50's, Fiorentino's nastiness is enhanced explicitly by her foul language and perpetual thirst for selfish sex. However there is no doubt at all that it is a unique actress at her very best who elevates this portrayal to what is quite possibly the greatest female performance in screen history. Her character Bridget Gregory is irresistibly stylish, cool, tough, intelligent, sexy, charming, and witty and her sheer attitude had critic Leonard Maltin observing that she "makes Stanwyck in Double Indemnity look like Snow White".
Intended as a psychological thriller this film actually turns into a hilarious black comedy such is the way in which Bridget, a chain-smoking New Yorker, quickly perceives peoples weakness and then ruthlessly exploits them. Needless to say she doesn't show a jot of remorse in crucifying her victims and most fascinating of all the audience even begins to admire her cunning and forethought in getting the better of all those around her. She plays chiefly on her ability to take men's breathes away and consequently convinces husband Clay into doing a drug deal worth $700,000 before fleeing to the cow-town state of Beston with the money. Clay, both skeptical and clever, is the only person on the same wavelength as Bridget and he recognises her one great weakness: her burning desire for her beloved spiritual home, NYC. Outwitting his treacherous wife now becomes a mouth-watering challenge and he tracks her down under the pseudonym of Wendy Kroy (a near anagram of New York) via his private detective Harlan. This sparks off another comical tangent: that of the small-mindedness of Beston and the consequent gossip that a Black man in the neighbourhood causes. It is Bridget's own amusing intolerance of this insularity that sparks her wish for a hasty return to city life and so drooling, "designated f*** boy" Mike Swayle suddenly becomes a useful device for disposing of Clay. Mike also despises Beston and Wendy is the evidence that he's got what it takes to live bigger. But even though it quickly becomes apparent that he is biting off more than he can chew with Bridget, critics are mistaken in writing off Mike as a rather dim, gullible country boy because he is actually a dapper, intelligent and ambitious character who just happens to suffer the misfortune of running into and succumbing to as manipulative a human being as it is possible to meet. While most of us would either have been scared to death or just fed up with all the hassle, Mike gallantly braves it and is desperately willing himself to have faith in his new partner. Bridget is frequently rude and ignorant to him (Berg's speechless incredulity at her actions is often side-splittingly funny) but she provides just enough encouragement at the right time to keep him coming back for more.
The conclusion, despite being slightly far-fetched, remains compelling viewing. It not only shows Bridget at her most hateful but it also shows how devious she has been in hatching her plans, every ounce of her behaviour throughout motivated towards getting her own way. Tellingly, cinematic audiences are so conditioned into expecting that good will win out over evil in these types of films that, right up until the very last moment, they anticipate that the she-devil of this piece will get her comeuppance. When, for example, it looks for all the world as if the imprisoned Mike has finally found a flaw in Bridget's cunning plan, we are just waiting, and even hoping, for a swarm of cop cars to engulf her. It never happens and it's to the eternal credit of director John Dahl that it doesn't. Instead she gets chauffeured off in a stretched limo, destroying the final piece of evidence as she does so. It's a fitting end to a film full of twists and surprises, and one that should eventually merit Bridget Gregory's promotion into the league of all time great movie characters.
I love this film. It's an absolute breath of fresh air. Those who can't deal
with the "immorality" of this film are drunk on Hollywood happy-ending sap
and are blind to the realities of human nature. Guess what, in real life,
more often than not, the bad guys don't get punished. If movies about the
white hats winning in the end make you feel better about the reality of what
usually happens in life, more power to you.
How many times have we cheered on a bad guy despite ourselves, even though we know he's bad, just because he's so charming and sexy? Why not the same of a woman? She's evil, she's manipulative, she gets what she wants. I love it. Would I want to meet someone like this in real life? Of course not. Do I find her behavior acceptable? Of course not, it's absolutely reprehensible. But this is a movie, it's entertainment, and the world is already full of bad-guys-get-it-in-the-end fantasies, orgies of violence that are only excused by the fact that the person being destroyed is a "bad guy" - why can't I relish in a fantasy of a brilliant and amoral woman triumphing over the stupid and trusting (and yes, people can really be that stupid, even smart people.) We want to believe in the essential goodness of mankind, but unfortunately, in the real world as in this movie, villains often capitalize on that need to believe for their own benefit.
Linda Fiorentino is absolutely amazing in this movie, I really wish she would get more work, her talents are completely underutilized. Sexy, smart, and in control. Bill Pullman is his usual wonderful self, and there are many other excellent supporting performances from the likes of J.T. Walsh (RIP) and Peter Berg.
Fiorentino has a field day as one of the most despicable women ever to be featured in a film. Her character is tough, self-centered, mean-spirited, and sexy femme fatale who absconds with her husband's drug money and tries to get her ninny of a boyfriend to kill him. The plot is quite contrived and the characters bear no resemblance to real people, with Fiorentino appearing to be a genius in a world of dim-witted men. The acting is pretty good. Berg is likable as Fiorentino's boyfriend, a decent fellow who has to balance his hormones with his morality. Pullman seems to be having fun playing the betrayed spouse. The score sets the right mood.
"The Last Seduction" was produced with theatrical distribution in mind, but it premiered on cable TV, thereby ensuring that Linda Fiorentino's sultry performance--the most acclaimed by a female in 1994--would be disqualified for Oscar consideration. Too bad. She would likely have claimed the prize for her smolderingly sexy turn as a promiscuous man killer. Other than Fiorentino, this film is strictly OK, a modern R-rated update of the kind of 1940's melodramas that offered Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Barbara Stanwyck some of their meatiest roles.
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