“The Last Seduction” (1994) starring Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg, & Bill Pullman

Most People Have a Dark Side. She Had Nothing Else. -A tagline for the film

Bridget Gregory (Lina Fiorentino) has a lot going for her: she’s beautiful, intelligent, and married to a doctor in NYC. But, as her husband Clay (Bill Pullman- in a rare sketchy role) discovers, all of this is NOT enough. After persuading Clay to sell medicinal cocaine to some drug-dealers, she takes off w/ the money ($700K) and goes undercover (calling herself Wendy Kroy) in a small town upstate. Since Clay must pay off a loan shark who will otherwise injure him, he sends private detectives after her, trying to get the money. Bridget meets Mike Swale (Peter Berg- who became a director), a naive local who works as a claims adjuster; he falls for her fast and hard. She devises a plan to get rid of Clay- once and for all.

Frank Griffith (Bridget’s lawyer): Anyone check you for a heartbeat recently?

Director John Dahl initially saw this movie as more of a dark comedy than film noir. An early draft of the script was told from Mike’s POV. According to an interview w/ screenwriter Steve Barancik in Creative Screenwriting, ITC Entertainment execs thought The Last Seduction would be a typical “Skin-e-max” movie (seen on premium cable). One exec was upset when he viewed a scene in which Fiorentino wore a pair of suspenders instead of being totally topless. When viewing the dailies of the scene, the exec asked, “Are we making an art movie?!” He demanded that the scene be cut and made the main cast/crew pledge that they had no “artistic pretensions.” LOL! There are elements that look fresh, BUT a few outdated (possibly offensive) scenes.

Bridget Gregory: You’re my designated f**k.

Mike Swale: Designated f**k? Do they make cards for that? What if I want to be more than your designated f**k?

Bridget Gregory: Then I’ll designate someone else.

What I remember most about it was we were shooting it at the end of the night. We never got a chance to talk about how we were going to do it. By the time we got outside to shoot, it was like 5AM in the morning and the sun was coming up. We had no plan and I didn’t want to do something that looked embarrassing or stupid. I didn’t want to appear to be just this designated sex-toy without some plan. I was suggesting that we maybe come back another day to shoot. John Dahl was upset because he knew he didn’t have the time to come back, and I was being all nervous, and Linda was just smoking a cigarette, watching. After about ten minutes of me rambling on, she threw down the cigarette, looked at me, told me to shut the f**k up, take my pants down, and get up against the fence. She said, “John, get a camera,” and she climbed up on me against that fence and told John Dahl to shoot it, and that was the scene. She thought of it, she conceived it, she executed it. It was awesome. -Peter Berg, on the (infamous) chain-link fence scene

Bridget is a rare lead for Hollywood, as she’s an unapologetic female baddie character. She knows how to take charge at work and in the bedroom (or wherever she hooks up w/ men). Fans of Double Indemnity (one of the most well-known noir films) will notice homages here, esp. the hairstyle (long bob) worn by Bridget and the insurance angle. This was #5 on Roger Ebert’s list of the Best Films of 1994. Fiorentino was widely praised by critics, BUT was denied an Academy Award nom b/c this movie came out on TV (HBO) before its theatrical release. In today’s media landscape, we see the lines blurring btwn TV and movies. After its theatrical releases, movies (usually) will go to a streaming platform. This movie is available on several apps, incl. Freevee and PlutoTV.

[1] It’s surprisingly funny at times. It’s all attitude and Fiorentino is dripping in it. Her dialogue is neo-noir and snappy. I love the dark turns and her glee with making those turns.

[2] The plot is intricate with many twists and turns. The dialogue sounds like it came from a 1940s noir (updated with swearing) but this isn’t anything like those movies.

[3] Pullman was great as the reaper of retribution intent on giving evil for evil. Peter Berg may have stolen the show with his total inability to say no to his own destruction. It was hard to believe the abyss of stupidity these 2 dopes had the capacity to plumb. Guess that’s what happens when the little head takes over the thought processes for the big head, eh? The picture started out a little slow, but developed into a real blowout with a jaw dropping finale.

-Excerpts from IMDb reviews


3 thoughts on ““The Last Seduction” (1994) starring Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg, & Bill Pullman

    • Well, my guess (from listening to media critics & Twitter pals) is there is audience for adult (mature) drama w/ more real-life issues. These are the viewers who are tired of YA, fantasy, and comic book-type media. However, it is a BIT odd that erotic thrillers being rebooted (or reimagined). There is a (youngish) filmmaker who recently made an erotic thriller- “The Voyeurs” (Netflix); I will have to look up.


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