Readers of my blog should by now have picked up on my pre-occupation with femme fatales- what can I say, I have a deep seated weakness for conniving, bloodthirsty women.
Continuing my interest in this stock character, I today watched Kiss Daddy Goodnight– a low budget, independant, late 80’s title, which unbeknownst to many marks Uma Thurman’s debut to film. Like other such narratives of the time as Body Heat, Fatal Attraction and Blue Velvet, it typecasts a beguiling seductress in a dark twisted world, only this time on a much smaller scale and not to any great effect.
In this flick, Thurman plays Laura, a young rouge lipped creature of the night who adopts multiple identities and preys on middle aged, wealthy men by sleeping with them, drugging them and robbing them. Accompanying her are punky street kid friend Sid (Paul Dillion), his former band-mate Johnny ( Steve Buscemi), and overbearing perverse neighbour William Tildan ( Paul Richards).
Fitting to her role as temptress, it opens with Laura on-stage as a model in a sleazy fashion show. Directing our attention to her is a tawdry black Ru Paul lookalike who introduces her as the spectacle to his latest outfit: a tarty pvc/ pearl combo. Here she is labelled as “dangerous” and “trashy”, and perversely instructed to ” give them some turns/ attitude”. New York, as dive bar/ drag queen central of the late 80’s, provides the perfect setting for this film which concerns itself almost entirely with the prevailing glitz and glamour of the time. But try as it will to do this with any real vigor, it ulimately falls short at clumsy, amateur filmaking.
From the outset, the film’s low budget offering is instantly apparent- dusty low key lighting, a dissonant soundtrack and a garish, if not exhuastive use of colour are the extent of its cinematography. The dialogue too is mundane and there is little to no character development or suspense. The only redeeming aspect of this film is Thurman, whose preadtory gaze and beguiling girlish innonence show clear early signs of an emerging talent that would later manifest itself in cult blockbuster, Pulp Fiction. Buscemi on the other hand, as fellow co- star in Pulp Fiction, is barely given a second to get going in this film before disappearing all together. As much as I wanted to get into this film, I was either overwhelmed by the cacophnous soundtrack or nauseated by the visual imagery.
It’s no surprise that little has been said about the film critically- IMDB users have dismissed it as “sloppier than a school dinner”, “a dreadful waste of time” and ” a college film student effort”, while on Rotten Tomatoes it’s yet even to receive a definitive audience score.
At a mere 80 minutes it’s worth a watch, if anything to prove the crictics wrong, but truth be told it does make for painful viewing. For further information on the film, see www.imdb.com/title/tt0093351/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_Daddy_Goodnight