For anyone who loves the mean streets of film noir and the lethal, alluring femmes fatales who prowl them, John Dahl’s The Last Seduction is an irresistible treat. The plotting is serpentine, the dialogue snaps like a wounded cobra and the gleefully heartless tone never softens for a second. Best of all, the film enshrines one of the great ruthless-bitch performances of all time: Linda Fiorentino’s Bridget Gregory.
Bridget knows precisely what she wants – money, power, sex – and she’s very happy to use any two of them to get hold of the third. Along the way she relishes manipulating, tormenting and, if necessary, killing the ever-gullible males who serve as stepping-stones to her goal. Dark, lithe and drop-dead sexy, Bridget can out-think and outfox any man she meets, switching personas like a quick-change artiste. You wouldn’t want to meet her... but she’s a joy to watch.
The film boasts a top supporting cast – Bill Pullman as Bridget’s sleazy husband; Peter Berg as the small-town stud who gets inextricably trapped in her web; the late, great JT Walsh as her slick lawyer, the one guy who’s got her measure. But this is Fiorentino’s film first, last and always and she slips into Bridget’s skin as if it were her own. It’s a crying shame that, thanks to a mishandled release pattern, she was denied a shot at Oscar.
This two-disc Special Edition does The Last Seduction proud. Besides the movie itself, in a pristine transfer that showcases Jeffrey Jur’s crisp-edged photography and Joseph Vitarelli’s insidious, cool-jazz score, we get a generous selection of deleted scenes, usefully reinserted into their context so we can see just how they fitted. They’re good scenes, too – the one which shows Bridget doing schoolgirl role-play for her lover in a deserted high school gym will appeal to kinky folk everywhere – but you can see why Dahl decided they were superfluous.
There’s also a substantial Making Of documentary with contributions from Fiorentino, Berg, Pullman, Dahl and writer Steve Barancik; a solid director’s commentary from Dahl and a thoughtful booklet essay from film lecturer Linda Ruth Williams that places Bridget in the proud tradition of cinema’s top hard bitches.
And by way of bonus we’re given a half-hour show directed by Dahl, from the TV series Fallen Angels, entitled ‘Tomorrow I Die’. Starring Pullman and Heather Graham, and adapted from a short story by Mickey Spillane, it even rivals Seduction for sheer heartlessness. The pay-off will have you gasping.