Continuing a five-day look back at five great William Hurt performances, this 1981 thriller involves two painful acts which human beings have inflicted upon one another for thousands of years: adultery and murder.
The object of Mrs. Walker’s ghastly wish is her husband, Mr. Walker.
In life, any random power of suggestion could be very strong, but coming from a gorgeous late 20-something siren who pours sexuality from every pore in her body, it is, quite frankly, nearly impossible for the average man to resist.
In writer/director Lawrence Kasdan’s sizzling thriller, this is the conundrum Ned, a 30-something Florida lawyer, faces during his sweltering summer affair with Matty.
During the film's first 20 minutes, Kasdan does an excellent job of setting tones and introducing his characters.
We see Ned is an attractive bachelor who flails with his struggling lawyer practice, but only needs to put forth minimal effort to sleep with a different woman every night.
He seems bored by it all, and the small community’s unusual heat wave (because it's known for cool breezes) adds to his restlessness.
So, with his first glimpse of Matty sashaying away from an outdoor concert with an open blouse and skirt, Ned immediate follows her lead towards the boardwalk.
She clearly conveys her marital status, but also communicates her interest in Ned with flirty and direct exchanges.
For instance, after five minutes of meeting him, she spills a snowcone on her white dress, and asks Ned if he wants to lick it off.
Matty’s persona could be best described as magnetic, and soon, with her offer of countless erotic nights while her husband - who she describes as small and mean and weak - is away, Ned is in tune to satisfy Matty desires.
Matty soon suggests if her husband was dead, they could be together forever, and they plan for his untimely demise.
Don’t be fooled though, there are many more layers to “Body Heat” than just a steamy love affair and a planned murder.
Kasdan doesn’t include many more players than Ned and Matty, but they all play key roles.
Edmund - a man in his 50s who eats, drinks and breathes business - doesn’t seem too terribly awful, but makes his money on crooked paths instead of the straight and narrow.
Each character receives just the right amount of tangential screentime with most of the focus primarily square on Matty and Ned.
They are electric on screen, and both flawlessly play the roles of vamp and the man who follows her lead.
She is a woman who plants ideas around the men in her life, and they later claim them as their own.
Matty's plan (or I mean “their” plan) could certainly succeed, but Ned’s client, Teddy (a 29-year-old Mickey Rourke), a small-time troublemaker warns him, “Any time you try a decent crime, you got 50 ways you could (explicative) it up. If you think of 25 of them, then you’re a genius, and you ain’t no genius.”
After watching “Body Heat”, it doesn’t take a genius to recognize it is one of the great American torrid crime films from the past few decades.
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