Saturday, August 16, 2014

Body Heat

Movie Name: Body Heat
Year of Release: 1981
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, Mickey Rourke, J.A. Preston, Kim Zimmer, Jane Hallaren, Lanna Saunders, Carola McGuinness, Michael Ryan, Larry Marko
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9

"Body Heat" was a debut for many of the key players involved, namely for director Lawrence Kasdan (who had at the time been only responsible for the screenplay of "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back"), and for actress Kathleen Turner. The film follows the story of small town attorney Ned Racine, who gets involved with a mysterious and beautiful blonde, by the name of Matty Walker. He realizes she's married to a  much older man, but they embark on a torrid affair. As the relationship evolves, Matty slowly convinces Ned to kill her husband, so they can both resume their lives together, with her as the sole heir of his estate. However once the plan is established and executed, things slowly start unraveling for Ned.
"Body Heat" is a modern classic that updates a lot of the pulp stories from the 1940s and 1950s, with the concept of the mysterious femme fatale, who lures the gullible man to her deceitful web (much like Barbara Stanwyck in "Double Indemnity" for instance). Lawrence Kasdan successfully builds the environment where these characters exist - from the humidity of Florida, through the characters that inhabit this small town (where everyone knows everybody). The actors are also very well cast, particularly the central pair, played by William Hurt and Kathleen Turner - they have an instant chemistry and bring authenticity and credibility to situations that might have been otherwise ludicrous  (so much that Kathleen Turner had the femme fatale persona "glued" to her for most of the 80s). The fantastic soundtrack from John Barry also became associated with the genre. The film is a perfect combination of thriller, suspense and erotic relationship put on screen. A classic always worth revisiting.