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'The Last Seduction' (R)

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
November 18, 1994

In John Dahl's "The Last Seduction," a post-"Double Indemnity" drama full of plot twists, double-crossings, sexual gyrations and dark pronouncements, Linda Fiorentino persuades her husband Bill Pullman and a ruthless loan shark to finance a drug deal, then skips town with the $700,000.

At the advice of lawyer J.T. Walsh (is he the villain in every movie?), she hides out in a small town and changes her name. After hooking up with slow-witted local boy, Peter Berg, she decides to use him to solve her husband problem once and for all. Berg is so smitten, she figures, he'll do just about anything.

The movie is a spirited attempt at modern film noir, and huge parts of it are enjoyable. Fiorentino's an appealingly unappealing femme fatale, as she treats Berg like dirt, literally sizes up his sexual abilities, then road-tests him behind a bar. Berg is convincingly gullible; and Pullman makes a rather charming weasel.

But director Dahl never attains the enjoyable dimension he achieved in his previous "Red Rock West." In that movie, another angst thriller about passion, murder and a beautiful woman, the plot flowed fatefully like classic Greek drama. But in Dahl's latest, you spend too much of your time trying to push things along—and no seduction should be like that.

THE LAST SEDUCTION (R) — Contains profanity, violence and graphic sexual scenes.

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