Film / The Last Seduction

"Anyone check you for a heartbeat recently?"
Frank Griffith

A 1994 Neo-Noir film directed by John Dahl, The Last Seduction starred Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg and Bill Pullman. Its perhaps best known for being disqualified from Oscar consideration that year due to it showing on HBO just before premiering in theaters.

Bridget Gregory is the manager of a direct marketing call center; she is also married to Clay, a medical student. Clay is so smitten with her that, at her suggestion, he illegally sells pharmaceutical painkillers for a bag of cash. Then Clay makes a big mistake; in the emotional aftermath of his first crime, he slaps Bridget. She coolly steals the cash and skips town. Stopping in a small town for a drink, she meets Mike, a divorced man who immediately falls for her. When Clay sends goons to track down his wife and stolen cash, Bridget decides to use Mike in an elaborate scheme to get her past off her back.

This film features examples of:

  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: A deleted scene has Bridget dressing up as a cheerleader for Mike.
  • Amoral Attorney: Bridget's lawyer, played by J.T. Walsh.
  • Asshole Victim: Clay's abusiveness doesn't exactly make the viewer help but root for Bridget...a little. Bridget also uses this justification to draw Mike further into her scheme.
  • Berserk Button: For Mike, what pushes him over the edge in the final scene is Bridget mocking him for his marriage to Trish; it turns out that she is actually a he.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Harlan is the first character to die.
  • Black Is Bigger in Bed: Bridget invokes this to her husband's (black) private investigator to distract him while she's driving the car they're in. He blows her off at first but is eventually tempted to show her, taking off his seatbelt to do so. This results in his death when she intentionally crashes the car.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Clay comments that his locally-hired detective won't get rough with Bridget; he needs a New Yorker for that.
  • Clueless Detective: In contrast to Harlan, Bert, the above-mentioned local detective, is only comic relief.
  • Cultured Badass: Bridget gets a high powered job in her getaway town, for which she is well qualified; it's also mentioned she enjoys the theatre.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bridget, particularly when shes around Mike.
  • Deconstructed Trope: As the title implies, the film was intended to be this for the typical Film Noir Femme Fatale plot, illustrating just how heartless a woman would have to be to seduce a man into murdering a complete stranger, and how dumb the man would have to be to actually fall for it.
  • Defective Detective: Harlan is or rather, was one of these; apparently, with serious issues regarding certain racial & sexual stereotypes (see above).
  • Domestic Abuser: Downplayed. Clay slaps Bridget when she taunts him, but feels sorry soon after. Bridget, however, harbors a huge grudge.
  • Don't Ask: Mike's reaction whenever his failed marriage (see above) come up; since Mike is constantly pressing Bridget to talk about serious things and get closer emotionally, this tips her off that this is something else she can use against him.
  • Fanservice: Linda Fiorentino does several nude scenes
  • Femme Fatale: A Deconstructed Character Archetype with Bridget. See above.
  • Film Noir: One of the most famous 90s neo noirs.
  • Frameup: In the final sequence, Bridget puts a pretty good one on Mike.
  • Karma Houdini: By the last scene, life without parole is the absolute best Mike, busted for murder and rape, can hope for, while Bridget gets off scot-free — and, apparently, independently wealthy to boot.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Mike and his friends come across this way.
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Played With. Bridget comes up with her Sdrawkcab Alias herself, but Clay figures it out after an accidental glance at a poster of New York in the mirror.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Mike and Bridget have sex in a car and against the wire fence outside a bar. Deleted scenes show them doing it on the floor and in a school gym they broke into.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Bridget will stop at nothing to escape Clay, and then have her revenge on him, and then get away with it. Even to the point of premeditated murder, in the process ruining the life of someone whose biggest fault is being incredibly naive — Mike.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: The ending implies that Mike will spend the rest of his life in prison for Bridget's crimes.
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Bridget calls a lawyer to find out how she can get can spend her ill-gotten gains without her husband laying claim to any of it.
  • Phone-Trace Race: Performed by Clay and Harlan when Bridget calls.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Wendy Kroy.
  • The Sociopath: Bridget could be a textbook case study. She lies, manipulates, and discards others for her own gain; expresses no remorse for any of her actions (including at least two murders); brilliantly fakes a galaxy of emotions, while sincerely feeling nothing except greed and the desire for revenge; and the only time she ever discusses morality she seems to regard it as some alien concept.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Bridget stays in one of these when she's on the run.
  • Stupid Good: Mike embodies this to a great extent, especially the bit about not understanding evil in others.
  • The Unfair Sex: Completely and utterly averted.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Happens to Mike on his wedding night.
  • The Vamp: Bridget, for sure.
  • Villain Protagonist: Bridget is, as noted throughout, a vamp, a femme fatale, and a (relatively) high-functioning sociopath — but she's so damned good at it.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Bridget pulls this first at the hospital with the cop and then in the final scene to put the rap on Mike.