Showing posts with label 1994. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1994. Show all posts

23 January 2015

Blu-ray Review - The Last Seduction (1994)

No comments: Links to this post

Release Date:
26th January 2015
Rating: 18
John Dahl
Cast:Linda Fiorentino, Bill Pullman, Peter Berg
Buy: Blu-ray The Last Seduction

It seems that since the release of The Last Seduction the film has kind of been forgotten in the history of neo-noir. It is also sometimes called an erotic thriller, but it has too much of an air of classiness to really be lumped in with those. The press release for this blu-ray calls it both, but it’s quite clearly a neo-noir in tone and story telling, and it’s not very erotic.

Linda Fiorentino gives her finest screen performance as the manipulative bitch Bridget Gregory. She steals drug money and goes on the run from her husband Clay (Bill Pullman) after he makes a killing on a deal on pharmaceutical cocaine. She hides out in Beston, New Jersey on her way to Chicago and meets a guy called Mike who has a dark secret of his own. They start an affair, but of course Bridget has ulterior motives than some romance with some local. The film concludes with one of the best twist endings of all-time.

It was directed by John Dahl who previously made the noir western Red Rock West starring Nicolas Cage. Dahl (who is not related to Roald) would go on to direct films like Rounders and The Great Raid and a lot of television. The film has a low budget 90s look, which is what the film is, but Dahl’s cinematographer really pulls out all his stops with the lighting and the look as much as the budget allows. Alongside Quentin Tarantino’s early films (it came out the same year as Pulp Fiction) it really brought a revival to the noir imagery and themes.

Bill Pullman plays the husband and he really has a knack for playing noir characters, which I think is partly down to the fact he look like he could have been in a film from the 50s. He deserves more meaty parts like this or Lost Highway than the ones he usually gets. Linda Fiorentino's performance has gone down in the history books as one of the best depictions of the classic femme fatale, but she takes it to such bitchy heights it’s a marvel to see what she did with the character. She was shamefully denied an Oscar nomination because the film was shown on TV before it had a theatrical release. Peter Berg is also extremely good as Mike the local she starts her affair with. It also features an early role for Dean Norris who would later be in Breaking Bad, for which John Dahl actually directed an episode.

The disc is fairly heavy with features, including the longer director’s cut in standard definition, and has a director’s commentary for that cut. The disc also includes a nice sized documentary on the film, behind the scenes footage, and the trailer. The final feature is the John Dahl directed episode of Fallen Angels, a totally forgotten anthology TV show. They were often based on classic stories by the great pulp authors like Jim Thompson, Raymond Chandler etc. They were directed by then young directors who would become well known such as Steven Soderbergh and Alfonso CuarĂ³n, and even megastar actors like Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks directed episodes. If you like the episode included I would recommend tracking down the budget dvds of the second season, they are retitled to the even cheesier title, Perfect Crimes and are currently, little over a pound a piece on Amazon.

Overall The Last Seduction is a film that should be revisited so one can marvel at how solid a director can nail down the noir style decades after that era has died. It may not be as impressive as Chinatown or some of David Lynch’s work but it definitely deserves to go down in history as one of the finest examples. The new blu-ray is by far the best release Network has down in a while and hopefully more people discover this extremely twisted but vastly entertaining modern classic.

Ian Schultz