The Last Seduction: The greatest femme fatale ever?

Anna Smith in BBC:

In 1994, the term ‘straight to TV movie’ was used mostly as an insult. So when a small film called The Last Seduction premiered on HBO, nobody expected much. But those who caught it were floored by a darkly comic noir thriller with a knockout performance from Linda Fiorentino as Bridget Gregory. Bridget is a smart-talking New Yorker who hits ‘cow country’ with a suitcase of cash her husband Clay (Bill Pullman) had acquired in a drug deal. Advised to lie low for a while, Bridget shacks up with smitten local Mike (Peter Berg) and uses him to enact a devious plan. Directed by John Dahl and written by Steve Barancik, The Last Seduction is bitterly funny and deliciously clever – the razor-sharp dialogue is loaded with one-liners. It’s also sexy in a way that appeals to both women and men. With its manipulative femme fatale, it touches on similar themes to the big-budget Basic Instinct – but many believe it does it much better.

…Calculated tears are a move worthy of the film’s lead character Bridget, a quick-thinking profiler who knows exactly how to get results from the person in front of her. She issues orders to Mike in the manner of a dominatrix (in and out of bed), but she also knows when he needs to feel manly – so she feigns vulnerability. City slicker Bridget exploits everyone’s weaknesses and prejudices, even harnessing the casual racism of small-town cops to shake off a black private investigator on her tail. She is what lawyer Frank (JT Walsh) calls “a self-serving bitch” – a ruthless, superior psychologist who knows she’s smarter than everyone else in the room.

With brazen self-confidence, a knowing smile and a husky voice, Linda Fiorentino spoke to audiences seeking an unconventional heroine. It was a ‘dream role’ for the actress, according to a 1995 interview with Roger Ebert. “After I read that script, I was in Arizona and I got in a car and drove six hours to get to the meeting because I had never read anything so unique in terms of a female character. And I walked in the meeting with John Dahl, the director, and I said, ‘John, you are not allowed to hire anyone but me for this film.’ And I wasn’t kidding.”

More here.