Opinion Piece – Linda Fiorentino: An Appreciation

Fiorentino in The Last Seduction

Fiorentino in The Last Seduction

By Jordan

Sophisticated, menacing, conniving, unpredictable, sharp and stunning; the relatively short filmography belonging to the elegant Linda Fiorentino is in no way an indicator of her enchanting abilities, being an actress capable of entering a character and igniting a realistic and wholly watchable presence.

The biggest hit she has featured in is undoubtedly Men in Black (1997), but in my opinion (which, whether you like it or not is what this piece is about), there are 3 films in which her brilliance shines the brightest and would be half as successful if not for her appearance: The Last Seduction (1994 – directed by John Dahl), Jade (1995 – directed by William Friedkin) and Dogma (1999 – directed by Kevin Smith). In each of these titles she found herself working with important, though inconsistent, directors and starring alongside more renowned talent (Bill Pullman in The Last Seduction, David Caruso in Jade and Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Allan Rickman in Dogma), so it is entirely to her credit that she manages to outact and outclass the lot of them.

Below are the 3 characters she plays in the above films, ranked in order of excellence:

3. Trina Gavin – Jadejade poster

Mysterious trophy wife with her own private agenda, Trina draws the viewers gaze every time she appears and is made all the more complex when the movie’s twist hits. Jade was unfairly derided by critics upon release, and is still rarely discussed, but deserves so much more recognition thanks to Friedkin’s stylish, giallo-esque flourishes and, of course, Fiorentino’s smouldering presence.

2. Bethany – Dogmadogmaposter

Enduring a crisis of faith, as well as a subtle bout of depression and loneliness, Bethany finds her calling when the Angel The Metatron appears to her and bestows upon her a mission to save the entire universe from vanishing into nothingness… a task made even more troublesome when the “Prophets” sent to assist her are Jay and Silent Bob, Saint Rufus appears and she begins falling for one of the fallen Angels responsible for existence’s impending doom.

Despite all of this,throughout Dogma and its insane events she retains a cool, controlled persona playing the “strait man” and eventually reaches the ending having endeared herself to each and every viewer. A fantastic movie, a wonderful performance.

last_seduction_xlg1. Bridget Gregory – The Last Seduction

Simply sizzling. That’s the best way to describe Bridget, as she slithers through The Last Seduction devouring each line of dialogue and moment of confrontation in her path. She is controlling, dangerous and a complete enigma; a Femme-Fatal in one of the finest neo-noirs ever made.

This is must-see filmmaking with a faultless central performance and plot that just keeps twisting, it’s success entirely grounded upon Fiorentino’s damaging looks and capacity to overshadow such accomplished actors as Pullman and Peter Berg.

So if you’re looking for a new sub-genre to captivate and inspire you, the adult-minded catalogue of one of America’s finest should be on your radar, particularly if you enjoy pulpy thrills and have never seen The Last Seduction or Jade. Other titles on her filmography worth noting include: Martin Scorsese’s After Hours(1985), Beyond the Law (1993) and Where the Money Is (2000 – starring Paul Newman), but unfortunately that is about the extent of it.

Here’s hoping she soon returns with a vengeance.

Note: see my article on fellow underrated actress Angela Bettis here.


15 responses to “Opinion Piece – Linda Fiorentino: An Appreciation

  1. It’s nice to see a more positive appraisal of Jade, for once, as it’s usually slated as a low-point for Friedkin, and just another piece of woman-fearing, pseudo-erotic garbage for Joe Eszterhas, the latter of whom is, in my opinion, a pretty bad writer. Friedkin, however, can give anything a sheen of redemptive style.
    I wasn’t quite conscious of this actress’ name, but she sticks in my mind, which I guess is proof of her charisma. Thanks for the great article, guys!

    • Yeah I think Jade is definitely unfairly maligned! It’s pulpy fun in my opinion with great performances all round and a particularly exceptional car chase..
      Glad you enjoyed the read mate.

  2. “The Last Seduction” is one of my favorite films. I revisit it from time to time. You’ve just reminded me that it’s perhaps a good moment to give the DVD another spin. I saw “Jade” when it first came out, but can’t remember much about it. Perhaps I should give in my serious consideration.

    • It’s certainly not a bad favourite to have! It’s still not held in as high a regard as it should be. I reckon give both another watch for sure, especially Jade if you don’t remember it well.

  3. Great Post. The Last Seduction is such an underated classic that should have given her and Oscar nomination. But since it was not released theatrically at the time it was disqualified. Will check out Jade based on your enthusiasm

    • That truly is a great shame… still, if history has taught us anything it’s that the great films that aren’t even nominated for Oscars are the ones that are eventually revered the highest. Jade isn’t in the same class, but if you’re a fan of Fiorentino it’s a must watch.
      Cheers, Jordan

  4. Unfortunately the bad press about her and how awkward she is to work with will never let me see past that. Apparently she’s an absolute pain in the arse and directors just don’t want to work with her, which is why she never got that many big roles.

  5. Linda Fiorentino and The Last Seduction are both so underrated.

    I thought her supporting role in Men In Black was good too (similar, but still good). I’m not usually a fan of neonoirs, but this has always been one of my favorite films.

    I haven’t seen Jade yet, but it has definatley been added to the top of my ‘must see’ list!

    Thanks for the recomendation!

    • Yeah Men in Black is certainly memorable even just for seeing her in a rare blockbuster, but her performance was fine also.
      I’m glad you agree about The Last Seduction, now I hope you enjoy Jade also!
      Glad you liked the article.

  6. Pingback: Classic Review – Red Rock West (1993) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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