The Last Seduction (1994)
June 16, 2022 5:13 AM - Subscribe

Looking to escape her unhappy marriage, femme fatale Bridget (Linda Fiorentino) convinces her husband, Clay (Bill Pullman), to sell cocaine, then steals the profits and runs out. She stops in a small town, where she ensnares her next conquest, insurance man Mike (Peter Berg).

John Dahl's masterful, snarky neo-noir is top notch all-around, but its unquestioned engine is a positively electric lead performance by Linda Fiorentino.

94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Tubi and Plex and available for digital rental on multiple outlets.
posted by DirtyOldTown (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This was supposed to be a cable thriller, but the movie was so damned good and Fiorentino's central performance so ferocious, they booked a short theatrical run to try and help her qualify for Best Actress consideration. The Academy wouldn't budge (it had shown on cable once before the theater) and LF was snubbed.

This is jaw-droppingly good, likely the very best neo-noir of the 1990's. John Dahl quietly directed three, maybe four perfect neo-noir films during this time that all bear serious critical reevaluation.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:16 AM on June 16, 2022 [8 favorites]

Love this Roger Ebert take:

John Dahl's The Last Seduction knows how much we enjoy seeing a character work boldly outside the rules. It gives us a diabolical, evil woman, and goes the distance with her. We keep waiting for the movie to lose its nerve, and it never does: This woman is bad from beginning to end, she never reforms, she never compromises, and the movie doesn't tack on one of those contrived conclusions where the morals squad comes in and cleans up.

I would post Dahl's Red Rock West, too, but it isn't streaming anywhere so that doesn't seem fair.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:21 AM on June 16, 2022 [6 favorites]

This looks wonderful, thanks for posting it!
posted by stellaluna at 5:27 AM on June 16, 2022

I remember seeing this, and Ebert really nailed it. Funny, it's the only picture by Dahl that I've seen, but I remember reading/hearing about Rounders and Red Rock West and wanting to see those as well, but never got around to finding them. I really should, and should look at this again. (One of the things that I remember about it is that it has an unvarnished look at a telemarketing boiler room, as does the similarly good The New Age.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:33 AM on June 16, 2022

Red Rock West has a stellar cast (Nic Cage, Lara Flynn Boyle, JT Walsh, Dennis Hopper, Dwight Yoakam) but the best part of that one is the story. It's probably the very best 90's take on the kind of noir story where absolutely everything that happens is both a twist! and horribly, fatalistically inevitable... as though God is just giving this protagonist the full Job.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:52 AM on June 16, 2022 [8 favorites]

omg I LOOOOVE this movie.

I first saw it the weekend after a bf broke up with me, I was sad but also could tell I'd sorta be over it soon. we had this dynamic, half joking, that I was the evil city-slicker and he was the innocent country bumpkin (some truth to both). so I had been wanting to see this and rented it that weekend and it was so PERFECT. it just utterly hit the spot and made me feel great.

it has traditionally been quite rare for a woman to disregard propriety, laws whatever, and get away with it. no consequences for her, although the men certainly pay.

I've always liked Linda Fiorentino a lot. she's not a classic hollywood beauty but she's got gorgeous hair and a fantastic sexy voice (I am not a hollywood beauty but I too have awesome hair and a sexy voice so wooooo!) I mean, "I hate the living" is one of my all time favorite movie quotes!
posted by supermedusa at 9:46 AM on June 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

who do I have to fuck to get a Manhattan around here?
posted by supermedusa at 9:46 AM on June 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

I love this movie so much. The first time I saw it my jaw dropped at how far she went, and then - kept going. I haven't watched it in ages so I'm prime for a rewatch, but her performance is just amazing, and the writing is so sharp - the only character I can think of that comes even close for an unapologetically evil female villain who isn't a stereotype or punished / redeemed for her actions is maybe Christina Ricci in The Opposite of Sex. This really should have been in Oscar contention for Fiorentino.
posted by Mchelly at 12:54 PM on June 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Thanks for prompting me to rewatch this. For some reason, I had it in my head that it was Isabella Rossilini in the bar room scene where she first meets Mike and then when she later fucks him in the car. I haven't watched the director's cut yet, but I'm hoping that includes a scene where we see the hapless Mike walking towards the Chair. Throw that in and it'd be pretty well perfect.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:08 PM on June 19, 2022

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