"[The Last Seduction] is a roller-coaster of twists and turns. It is the classic film noir thriller, but it turns everything on its head. Just when you think you know what's going to happen, it does a twist into the unexpected. I'm a fan of the [noir] genre. I like atmosphere and I'm fascinated by the psychology of the characters - the deceit, the betrayal and the desperation." - John Dahl, director of THE LAST SEDUCTION
Linda Fiorentino has since appeared as fluff in, for example, MEN IN BLACK ... but why oh WHY is such a talent being made to go to waste? As tough-as-nails, rotten-to-the-core femme fatale Bridget Gregory/Wendy Kroy there was just no stopping her - "Fiorentino is ferociously good" ...
John Dahl (KILL ME AGAIN and RED ROCK WEST) delivers this unusual, dark, tongue-in-cheek neo-noir thriller about Bridget Gregory, a sexy and oh-so-savvy hustler who connives unlikable husband Clay, a struck-off doctor, into selling pharmaceutical cocaine to pay off a loan shark ... then takes off with the $700,000 whilst he's in the shower. No packing of bags, no checking for passport - nothing. She simply takes the haul and leaves. Stopping in Jerkville, USA (Beston in up-state New York) to 'phone her lawyer (the late J.T. Walsh: stripey shirt, red braces, slick dialogue - yeah, he's The Sharp Attorney), she is advised not to start spending the $700,000 loot for another six months at least.
What now? Oh well, have a beer first. She breezes into the nearest bar, where local boy Mike Swale (Peter Berg) is berating Beston, NY and all its inhabitants for its bland and unimaginative provincialness. He is immediately bowled-over and conquered by Bridget's confidence - needing a place to stay the night, she enlists him with the irresistible, "You're my designated f*** for the evening ..." Bridget leaves in the morning, having exhausted Swale. To lay low for six months means taking a job. No problem, she was in telemarketing in New York and there's a director's position going at the local electronics firm. And so is a rented house.
To Swale, Bridget Gregory (now adopting the nom de noir Wendy Kroy) is a slick city-chick, and his soon-to-be ticket out of Beston (actually, it's his second attempt; the first ended in humiliating farce in Buffalo), and he cannot get her out of his mind or out of his system. But he need not try too hard for Wendy 'keeps' him anyway, as suitable cover while she has to put up with Beston, where people always say "Hello!" "please" and "Thank you," and no one locks their doors at night ... Fractious Bridget/Wendy shudders in unconcealed contempt. "Spare me your brainless, countrified morality." When Clay's loan-shark heavy, Harlan, tracks her down, he is almost-casually despatched by sexily luring him out of his seat-belt ... to his cost. Wendy Kroy is at her chessmaster's best when epitomizing the maxim "never underestimate a man's ability to underestimate a woman ..." by using stereotypical assumptions about women to her advantage.
Such as the scene where, in cutesy smiles and twee little apron, she brings cookies out to the detective who is keeping an eye on her house. As we already see Bridget as the Ice Queen, we wonder what this is about - it's a ploy so that she can plant nails under his tyres. Then there's another in which she convinces Mike that she loves him by planting a note for him to find showing his name in a little heart ... aaahhhh ...! Gradually, the big-hearted but garrulous Mike is seduced deeper into Wendy Kroy's web of evil intrigue, involving murder on behalf of deceived and cheated-upon wives. Eventually, Mike Swale is persuaded to kill a Mr. C. Cahill in New York ...
Linda Fiorentino is enchantingly and intoxicatingly wicked as the icily cold-blooded beauty who redefines the terms 'calculating' and 'ruthless.' Bill Pullman and Peter Berg add an element of comic relief as mere cyphers, the objects of her wrath (read: saps), whilst legal eagle J.T. Walsh is just about Bridget's professionally-detached equal in her unconscionably dastardly doings ("Anyone check you for a heartbeat lately?"). The best lines are about Bridget: "I love you ... I'm sure you feel the same way - I'm sure you love you, too" - or from her: Dahl saturates this picture with atmosphere - the incidental music is a near-continuous cool strumming by a cocktail-lounge trio!
THE LAST SEDUCTION was filmed-for-cable (and therefore Fiorentino could not really qualify for any Academy Award nominations) and is far better than most in the genre, thanks to the creative and well-paced unfolding of the plot and character development. It also has a well-written script that reveals just enough of the evil lurking beneath the surface but not too much. Because Steve Barancik deliberately avoids providing us with any easy motivation for Bridget's actions (like, say, a troubled childhood), her amorality becomes all the more questionable - but all the more effective.
Perhaps what makes the maliciously calculating and amoral Bridget Gregory/Wendy Kroy just that teensy-weensy bit endearing after all ... is that her adversaries clearly deserve what they get; they have few, if any, redeeming qualities - they are themselves either too corrupt (Clay), too mean (Harlan), or too naÔvely stupid (Mike). One cannot help chuckling with her in the back of the limo ... as she gets away with it ...!