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
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
performances of the 1990s as Bridget/Wendy. Her no-holds-barred potrayal
perfectly matched Barancik's uncompromising writing. Fiorentino deserved
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.
a small but outstanding cast of what were then B-list actors, everyday
settings and a tiny budget, the director kept `The Last Seduction'
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
Berg makes one of the best. A lean slice of beecake, he's back in his
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
As another reviewer chooses to emphasize, with her skinny legs and
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
enthusiastically to the sex scene where Bridget rides Berg's Mike against
fence behind the bar. In fact, there's hardly a standard bedroom scene:
of the sex is of the right-now kind. And while both seem to enjoy
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
Avengers' has there been a thin, flat-chested woman who dominates males
Linda Fiorentino takes care of business here. Bridget certainly isn't a
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
Hollywood's standard murderous agit-prop is that `The Last Seduction' has
Unfortunately, great work doesn't always bring great rewards.
was good in Kevin Smith's ramshackle low-budget `Dogma,' only to be
by the director. She was one of the best elements of the equally
but costly `Men in Black,' only to be booted from the sequel for more
compliant girls. (In Hollywood's homoerotic subtext, `buddy movie' means
Fiorentino did hook up aagin with John Dahl in the highly forgettable
`Unforgettable,' weighed down by a bigger budget, second-rate script and
Liotta. Both the director and his leading lady are still in play, though,
we can hope they will find other siutations worthy of their talents. And
not, Linda Fiorentino makes `The Last Seduction' unforgettable.