Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Last Seduction (1994)

Directed by John Dahl
Starring Linda Fiorentino, Bill Pullman, Peter Berg
Rated R
USA

“Hey, it's me. Your designated fuck-boy.”

Here's what I just realized about the 90's: they looked like cable TV. It didn't feel that way at the time, but looking back on it, it's pretty obvious. Premium cable, mind you, but on an off-night. Like a Tuesday at 2AM. We had computers, but all they could do, really, is generate lists of phone numbers, and ladies wore nice jeans, but they were very high-waisted, and some folks were bad, but even at their worst, they weren't, you know, 2001 Anthrax-in-the-mail bad. The Last Seduction might be the penultimate 90's-as-cable document. It's yet another neo-noir film, produced midway through a  ceaseless wave of the things (Two Jakes, Bound, LA Confidential, The Grifters, Miami Blues, Red Rock West – which was also directed by Dahl – Romeo is Bleeding, The Usual Suspects, etc etc.) spurned by a sudden resurgence in interest for hard-boiled fiction from the 40's and 50's. Who knows why that happened? We were all into swing dancing for a few minutes back there, too. It was a whole retro-thing. A craze. That's what happens when you don't have the internet to distract you.


So anyway, The Last Seduction stars Linda Fiorentino as one Bridget Gregory, a scheming, goth-y femme-fatale with a wicked tongue, who rips off her boyfriend (Bill Pullman) for a hundred grand and high-tails it out of NYC. She lands in the sleepy upstate burg of Beston to hole up until the heat's off, but ends up embroiled in a torrid affair with an ambitious yokel, Mike (Peter Berg).  While she enjoys having dumpster sex with our boy Mike, she knows she's gotta get rid of him at some point. Always on the hunt for an angle, she stumbles on a brilliant idea to destroy both of her man-problems in one fell swoop. It involves lots of whiskey and cigarettes.


The obligatory twisty climax is pretty fun (and ridiculous), but it takes a long while to get there. Just how long depends on how much you can take of Fiorentino's relentless scowling and bad-girl snark. I mean, she really does try her best to be the sexiest monster the 90's could possibly offer, but unfortunately, that particular decade wasn't evil enough for girls like Bridget, so it never feels like more  than goofy late-night cable TV time-slot filler.


I did like her classy tea-cup boobs, though.


- Ken McIntyre 

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