A wife takes off from her drug-dealing medical intern husband (Bill Pullman), leaves Manhattan, and finds refuge in the charming (fictitious) small town of Beston in upstate New York.
Sounds heartwarming, but in John Dahl’s erotic noir, it’s the husband who should be relieved: Linda Fiorentino’s husky-voiced brunette Bridget Gregory is a sociopath who’s able to manipulate anyone dumb enough to even say good morning to her.
With a vicious streak that would leave Kathleen Turner’s villainess from Body Heat (1981) aghast, Bridget embezzles money, plays with people’s insecurities, and dispatches would-be opponents as calmly as a cat shreds moths.
She hooks up with a jocky country hick named Mike Swale (Peter Berg), who has failed in the big city of Buffalo, where he entered into what might be described as a very injudicious marriage. He is the perfect pawn for brainy Bridget – or “Wendy”, as she’s now calling herself.
Meanwhile, a private eye (craftily acted by Bill Nunn) – hired by her abandoned husband after she ripped off his $700,000 of dirty drug money – manages to locate her in dull Beston, but she eludes him using another sexy trick.
Despite her diabolical actions, you can’t help rooting for her, and perhaps the film’s greatest cruelty is that it was denied an Oscar due to being screened on HBO ahead of cinematic release.
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