This film is simply top notch. With deft direction by Lawrence Kasdan, a stellar cast, and a clever, well thought out script written by the director himself, this is a moody, atmospheric film, reminiscent of those potboilers of the nineteen forties. Highly stylized, the film tautly maintains its tension and suspense.
The plot is simple, yet ingenious. In steamy, hot and sultry coastal Florida, a beautiful blonde, unhappily married socialite, Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), a veritable man trap with her smoky voice and Venus de Milo curves, meets a womanizing chump, Ned Racine (William Hurt), a small town, not too successful lawyer. He can't believe his luck when he hooks up with the wealthy Matty, as most of the women with whom he consorts work as waitresses, nurses, or in other service occupations. Better yet, the sexy, alluring Matty seems to want him as much as he wants her, and a torrid affair ensues.
Matty is married to a rapacious business man, Edmund Walker (Richard Crenna), whom Matty wants to have permanently removed. He is definitely a man with whom to reckon and the type of guy that takes no prisoners. He is, quite simply, a ruthless businessman, and the type of guy one loves to hate. He is also rich, very rich. Matty claims that she cannot divorce him without losing her wealthy life style, due to a draconian pre-nuptial agreement. Matty, in between huge dollops of steamy sex, does not hesitate to tell Ned how much she loves and wants him and that, were her husband were to die, all that money would be theirs. Beneath her love goddess exterior, however, lies a mind like a steel trap.
As Matty slowly spins her web and ensnares Ned, like a mouse in a trap, he falls into lock step with Matty's homicidal plans. What he does not initially realize is the extent of Matty's perfidy and deceit, until it is too late. As the realization of what actually has happened begins slowly to dawn upon Ned, it is a thing of on screen beauty and an absolutely brilliant contrivance with which to push the film further along to its ultimate resolution. What initially appears to be just a film about sexual obsession turns out to be something quite different, with enough plot twists to keep the viewer riveted to the screen.
It is hard to believe that this was Ms. Turner's screen debut, so powerful a performance does she turn in. She is absolutely mesmerizing as the sexy siren with an agenda all her own. Just as she reels in Ned Racine, she reels in the viewer, as well, hook, line, and sinker. William Hurt is also terrific as the bottom of the barrel attorney who realizes too late that all is not what it seems. He approaches the role with the right amount of naivete, not letting the sleaze factor overwhelm the character. In the final analysis, there is a measure of sympathy for him, such as that for a little boy who is found with his hand caught inside the cookie jar, no easy feat given the nature of the character's actions.
A goofy looking Ted Danson is excellent in the small role of Peter Lowenstein, the State's attorney and Ned's friend, who suspects that Ned may be involved in the death of Edmund Walker. He, too, plays a game of cat and mouse with him. J. A. Preston is wonderful as Ned's friend and the detective investigator who follows the homicide investigation no matter where it leads. Mickey Rourke is very good as Ned's client and small time criminal, as well as a man who seems to have more sense than his lawyer.
This is a superlative film that is well worth having in one's collection. Bravo!