I should probably start by saying that it’s been several years since I saw “The Last Seduction,” so my recall may not be immaculate. I thought it was in many ways an excellent film, and yet one that I would not care to see again.
As some others have pointed out, what makes this film unique is that it retells a fairly standard “film noir” story (think “Body Heat” or “Double Indemnity”) from the POV of the femme fatale, the icily wicked, lethally beautiful and clever, and utterly ruthless Bridget Gregory. That certainly gives it an interesting, even explosive edge. Certain aspects of the plot do strain credulity. Bridget’s husband Clay (Bill Pullman) figures out Bridget’s alias in an amazing flash of inspiration, even though he doesn’t show any symptoms of above-average intelligence before or after that. Even less plausible is the way Bridget extricates herself from the clutches of the private detective sent by Clay to track her down. He knows she’s smart and manipulative; it’s highly doubtful that he would fall so stupidly for her trick. Nevertheless, such lapses of logic are par for the course in most cinematic thrillers. In the end, the plot holds up OK; it is certainly far less predictable than by-the-numbers suspense films like “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” or “Single White Female” It certainly holds your attention, with some genuinely shocking twists.
Bridget is, in many ways, a fascinating character — one who uses cool career-woman smarts, sexual wiles, and even the aura of woman-as-victim to get what she wants. (It’s interesting, too, that she doesn’t just use sex as a weapon, she wants and needs it for her own pleasure.) Yet the potential of this character is not fulfilled in the film. We never really get inside the head of the femme fatale. We watch her plot, but we have no idea why she is the way she is, or how she justifies her actions to herself (almost every human being needs to do that!).
Linda Fiorentino is near-perfect as Bridget, conveying a great deal with little touches like her hilarious reaction to the rhubarb pie in her small-town lover’s fridge. Peter Berg is very convincing as Mike, Bridget’s sad-eyed dupe, and J. T. Walsh was great as usual in a small part as a sleazy lawyer.
That said, “The Last Seduction” left a rather bad taste in my mouth — to such an extent that while I appreciate its quality, I wouldn’t care to see it again, any more than I would care to see a snake devour a bunny. Basically, it invites you to watch and enjoy the cold-blooded destruction of several human beings who, while either too sleazy or too pathetic (or both) to root for, are still far more human than Bridget. It holds out no possibility of moral redemption for anyone, whatsoever. In a way, it is just as cold-blooded and contemptuous of humanity as is Bridget herself. Who knows, perhaps the fact that it’s too disturbing to see again is a measure of its success!