Monday, July 18, 2011

673. Body Heat (1981)

Running Time: 113 minutes
Directed By: Lawrence Kasdan
Written By: Lawrence Kasdan
Main Cast: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, J.A. Preston


Well, while my cold is getting better, it's still making a full night's sleep a hell of a challenge. That is why I come to you at nearly 6am on a Monday morning to tell you about the film I watched last night, "Body Heat".

William Hurt returns to the blog as Ned Racine, a down on his luck lawyer, who, on a hot summer's night in Florida, makes the acquaintance of Matty Walker (Turner). Matty is the wife of wealthy businessman Edmund Walker (Crenna), and after exchanging some flirtatious advances, the two separate, only to meet back up the next night in a local bar. Once again, the flirtations flow and one things leads to another, with Ned back at Matty's house, so that he can "see her wind chimes". He sees the chimes, but as you guessed the two end up taking a roll in the hay and Matty releases the information that her husband is only home on the weekends - the rest of the week he's out of town on business. Ned and Matty's affair continues on the weekdays, as the hot summer night's continue as well, adding an extra dash of passion, to Ned and Matty's already sweltering love affair. Eventually, just sex isn't enough for the duo and they mutually agree to kill Matty's husband, leaving the rich and able to be together. The duo pull off the killing, but now it's up to them to hide it. Can Ned and Matty band together to trick the authorities or will they ultimately be caught?


"Body Heat" started out a little slow, but as it progressed I got more and more lost in it. Just as a quick note before I get into the meat and potatoes of the review - I love films where extreme heat is emphasized. I think it always adds an extra element of tension and almost always "works". Films like this one, "12 Angry Men" and "Do the Right Thing" are all made more tense due to the constant talk of the HEAT. Anyway, "Body Heat" provided me with yet another example of the shining actor that is William Hurt. This guy was on such a roll in the 1980s, as he managed to get five movies into the "1001" book (just from his 80s career) and one that was and still should be included, that being "The Accidental Tourist". Here "Body Heat" plays out like a film noir, with scummy music and scummy characters to boot. I was, at first, really disgusted by these characters as they just came off to me as very sleazy and slimy. As the film progressed, I gained more and more sympathy for Ned, but the rest of the characters never got that far and characters like Matty, Edmund and even Lowenstein (Danson) all felt corrupt and scummy.

I'll give this film it's credit on one point and that's the end. As the film progressed I became more and more interested in what would happen to these characters and what would happen to them. Maybe it's because I was sick and not "with it" or maybe the writing was done really well, but they had me fooled right up until the end. I did not see THAT ending coming and I'd chalk it up as one of the better movie twists in film history. The only thing that didn't really make sense to me, was having Ned relay the ending to Oscar (Preston), having Oscar shut him down and then having EXACTLY what Ned said be the outcome. It just didn't seem believable that this dumb lawyer, who couldn't pull off a murder and could barely win a court case, would be that insightful as to peg Matty so well. They should have done it differently, where Ned found out a different way - maybe by cutting out the end scene with Ned and Oscar and just having Ned receive the yearbook. I think that, paired with the final shot of Matty on the beach and the audience would have figured it out for themselves.

RATING: 7/10 Good erotic thriller/neo-noir and yet another fine example of the acting muscle that is William Hurt. One to go...


July 18, 2011 6:01am

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