‘The Last Seduction’ is an intelligent tightly woven neo-noir, full of twists, suspense and with possibly the most fearsome Femme Fatale to ever grace the silver screen.
Released in 1994, it met an audience still fresh from the thrills of related titles ‘Basic Instinct’ and ‘Fatal Attraction’, which had not long left screens, and for director John Dahl, it marks an impressive follow-on from forgotten cult classic, ‘Red Rock West’.
It tells a story of murder, greed, manipulation and ruthless self interest with Insurance Executive, Bridget Gregory (Linda Fiorentino) as the femme fatale. Quick off the mark it opens with Bridget talking husband, Clay (Bill Pullman) into carrying out $700,000 drug deal to settle his gambling debts. Clay is gullible and cowardly; a mere plaything in Bridget’s clutches.
Returning home, his efforts are met with little regard from Bridget, who decides to make a runner with the spoils while he’s in the shower. Taking off on the open road, she’s exactly the city bitch we imagine her to be: suited and booted, shades on, chewing gum, not giving a fuck. The femme fatale Bridget plays is that of a voracious man eater, who fucks for sport and lusts after money and power. Like a cat her face is wide set, cold eyed, her body feline with long slender curves. Beguiling and conniving in equal measures, she is the dominatrix of every modern man’s wet dreams, who takes not one, but several victims in this film.
Her escape leads her to a small town called Beston, in the heart of cattle country where she meets Mike (Peter Berg)- A fresh faced, soft spoken suburban type who is instantly drawn to her feisty manner when he catches earshot of her aggressively trying to order a drink at bar. Insisting that a simple “please” and “thank you” might help, Mike is told to “fuck off”, to which he makes the ambitious claim of having a dick the size of a horse upon departure. Challenging his claim, Bridget tells him to take a seat, then proceeds to rip open his trouser zip in search of the “horse- like quality” she recalls mockingly. Like a butcher to meat she fingers about in pants, tasting, smelling, querying his sexual past. Satisfied she tells him to meet her outside the bar and they later fuck each other’s brains out.
This kick starts a series of physical encounters between the two, which Mike mistakes for romance, requesting they get to know each other better. But romance, or at least the promise of it comes at a price- murder. Abusing her powers in insurance claims, she devises a wicked scheme to get rid of her husband, keep the money, and implicate Mike in Murder. Unaware of her true intentions, Mike gullible agrees to carry out the murder, with all but a promise of a new life with Bridget in New York to go on.
It should come as no surprise that Linda won an academy award nomination for this film to be honest, nor that Rotten Tomatoes has given it a top rating of 94%. A reworking of ‘Double Indemnity’, it plays out the insurance-scam-murder-mystery theme brilliantly, awakening all the codes of classic noir, while re-positioning the femme fatale as stronger, more seductive, more dangerous and even more irresistible than her predecessors.