Monday, April 13, 2009

The Last Seduction

The Last Seduction; Thriller, USA, 1994; D: John Dahl, S: Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg, Bill Pullman, Bill Nunn, J.T. Walsh

She's only a lady if she has a use from it. Bridget is a sneaky femme-fatale who just uses men to get rich. After her husband Clay beats her up, she runs away with his huge sum of money from New York to a small town, Beston. From there, she calls him and suggests him a divorce if she can keep half of the money, but he surprisingly refuses the offer, even though he has a huge debt towards the mafia. Bridget changes her name into Wendy, gets a job as a manager and seduces the naive Mike. Clay hires a private detective who finds her, but she kills him by hastily hitting the breaks and catapulting him out of the car. She then persuades Mike to kill Clay, but he gives up in the last moment. She then kills Clay and turns Mike to the police, among others also accusing him of rape.

His excellent thriller "The Last Seduction", where he showed a negative perspective of the world where a woman exploits her "inability" in order to manipulate men, John Dahl directed exclusively for Cable television, but the reception was so overwhelming and out of the frame of the TV format that it even subsequently went on to play in the theaters. The anti-heroine Bridget, in the coldblooded performance by Linda Fiorentino, actually copes well in every situation: she is a lady only if she has use from it, while otherwise she is very cynical, like when she enters a bar ("With whom does a woman have to sleep here to get a drink?") or meets Mike ("Here, you have to use the word 'please'." - "Beat it, please."). Rarely has a common cliche been so questioned as here the one about how "all women are fragile and weaker than men". Even when she doesn't succeed in every intent she planned, she always keeps her elegance and sense for bizarre dignity, so you can never know what she is going to do next, which together with the cinematography creates a wonderful film noir atmosphere. Her sneaky towards the end and unusual camera angles also create an additional sharpness.


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