The Last Seduction  (1994) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Scoop's comments in white:

The main character in The Last Seduction is an extension of the Barbara Stanwyck femme fatale from the 1940's. In the half-century since, films featuring "the scheming woman and her innocent dupe" have become a genre, or at least a sub-genre of film noir. They generally require suggestive banter and plenty of deceptions, and this film makes the grade, but where it varies from the formula is that the femme fatale (Linda Fiorentino) never pretends to be nice or weak. Unlike, for example, Kathleen Turner in Body Heat, an actress who is similar to Fiorentino in a similar film, Linda never tries to make the innocent small-town patsy think that she is good or that someone is trying to hurt her. Quite to the contrary, Fiorentino shocks the "mark" with her amoral behavior and her complete lack of human compassion. He finds out that she is a crazy, uncaring, psychotic bitch, but he still wants her. Why? She offers him a special deal:

1) He is desperate for something bigger and better than the hand fate dealt him. She can deliver that.

2) She doesn't pretend to be innocent. She doesn't pretend to be vulnerable. Everyone else in her life knows she is a schemer. "Hi, are you still a lawyer?" "Yeah, are you still a self-serving bitch?" In fact, she pretends to be even more ruthless than she actually is, faking a murder at one point because part of her scheme requires the mark to believe that she is a murderer. He knows she is bad, but plays along because he thinks she needs him for the plan, and that their secrets will bind them together. In fact, she does need him for the plan, but not quite as he imagines.

3) She never pretends to love him, but she offers him fantastic sex, and delivers as much of it as needed to get his co-operation. After a time, he believes that this is enough. "I don't do murder" "You would if you loved me".

The plot is nothing especially innovative. In fact, it copies Body Heat very closely in that the femme fatale knows the deepest, darkest secret about the patsy's past, the patsy is unaware of her knowledge, and the secret is critical to the plan.

One effective innovation is that The Last seduction exaggerates the characters so much that it adds a layer of black comedy to the usual serious noir atmosphere.  Early in their relationship, the patsy is trying to get her to open up and share with him because he wants more than the "designated fuck" status she has assigned him. She tries to tell him the truth about her crimes, but he thinks she is kidding, just making up fanciful stuff to avoid discussing her "real feelings".

The black humor is good, but that isn't what makes the film work. It is Fiorentino's character, self-described as "a total fucking bitch", so downright delicious and malicious and blatant in her schemes, that makes the film so entertaining from beginning to end.


Fiorentino shows buns, and breasts in several scenes.


What is the deal on Linda Fiorentino?

  • Men in Black - big hit - successful formula. She isn't invited back for the sequel, even though producers rarely tamper with a winning formula.
  • The Last Seduction - critical smash. She isn't invited back for the sequel, even though she is the very thing that made the film work in the first place.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen

  • no features

Tuna's comments in yellow:

The Last Seduction is an erotic thriller staring Linda Fiorentino as the ultimate self-serving bitch. Husband Bill Pullman, a doctor, sells a large amount of medical cocaine, and she takes off with the money. Fiorentino lands in a small town for the night, and her lawyer advises her to stay put, as her husband is after her for the money. Seems he owes a chunk of it to unfriendly loan sharks. Fiorentino takes a job under an assumed name, and cultivates a local (Peter Berg) as her "designated fuck." When hubby zeros in on her, she and Berg hatch an elaborate plot to kill the husband and blame someone else.

The appeal of this movie is the Fiorentino character, who is evil personified.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three and a half stars. Ebert 4/4, Berardinelli 3/4

  • Fiorentino won several Best Actress awards, and was even nominated for a BAFTA. She was under serious consideration for an Oscar nomination, but was disqualified because the film first aired on cable.

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: made for a modest $2.5 million dollars, it grossed only $6 million in the USA. It was much more popular in France, grossing about $4 million there (France has 1/5 the population of the USA). It premiered on HBO.


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Tuna says, "I like it very much, and it is a step above others of its genre. B-". Scoop says, "I like it a lot. I think the right score is probably C+. It's a genre masterpiece, but didn't have much appeal to general audiences. Anyway, the score is only a technicality. We both liked it, and recommend it if you like a good, sexy, femme fatale noir."

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