The Last Seduction (1994) (R)

"The Last Seduction" gives us the neo-noir psychological thriller at its peak. While "Body Heat" did set the stage for this movie (and is probably the smarter of the two films) with John Dahl's piece we are given a little slime of femme fatale madness. It's lovely.
There has never been a colder bitch than Bridget Gregory (Linda Fiorentino). There has never been a cinematic equivalent to this woman, who seems to have no morals, no standards; and yet obviously has a rule book that she must abide by, a book of her own writing no doubt. Bridget is unafraid to get her hands dirty, and she demands the respect of every man that she comes across.
Much of "The Last Seduction" is played out as a mockery of the fair sex versus the unfair sex, men versus women. Many cliches are still here like men being simple dimwits in comparison to a nice pair of breasts and a quick smile; yet it has never been more enjoyable to see a character be more ruthless with people than Bridget Gregory is.
The movie beings with Bridget's husband Clark (Bill Pullman) using his doctor's license to sell a load of pharmaceutical cocaine to a couple of thugs in return for almost a million dollars. When he comes home with the money—after giving Bridget a quick back hand for sassing him about his competency—he gets in the shower only to have the money taken from underneath his nose by none other than his adoring wifey.
Bridget skips town with the money and ends up in "cowpoke" country in New York, in a town called Beston. These a simple folks with huge prejudices and they don't want to readily welcome "city trash" like Bridget. But our leading lady does catch the eye of one of the local yokels, a man named Mike (Peter Berg). She playfully seduces him and then dumps him on the sidewalk the next day, much to his surprise because he thought they were going to start a genuine relationship.
Under the instruction of a lawyer, Bridget decides to wait in the local area and get a job, under a pseudonym, and demand a divorce from Clark so that she can be free with the money. Clark isn't keen on that idea and he tries to track Bridget down so that he can "talk" some sense into her.
For being the antagonist of the picture, Clark really isn't that bad, while his wife may far outshine him. An antihero through and through, Bridget changes her name to Wendy Kroy.
Things are going well until she realizes that Mike and her work together. He tails her around like a lost puppy-dog only wanting to talk about feelings and start a romance. She humors him sometimes and sometimes just kicks him to the curb.
But she will have to keep on her toes as Clark starts to narrow in on where she might be hiding and as secrets come tumbling out of the closet.
There's this odd sense of voyeuristic pleasure that you have to indulge in when you watch "The Last Seduction". It's about being cruel, it's about staying on top, and it's about being five steps ahead of your enemies.
Linda Fiorentino is spectacular here, and embodies the large character of Bridget so well that you are convinced of her every move and motive. While the plot of the movie is twisted enough and may have some holes under scrutiny, it's clear that a lot of thought was put into it.
What is exciting about how the script transcends the movie. Not only do we have an interesting plot, we have one that exists on its own. The plot within the plot is enticing enough to inspire works from Gillian Flynn and the genesis of the "clever" detective shows.
"The Last Seduction" is all around a smashing success. It is vile, detestable, sexy, nasty, and lovely. It's like a bouquet that Stephen King picked, fragrant and putrid in all the right places.

Score: ★★★½

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