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The Hot Spot

Posted on

The Hot Spot

Current Status:
In Season
130 minutes
Jennifer Connelly, Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Jack Nance, William Sadler, Charles Martin Smith
Dennis Hopper
Orion Pictures
Mystery and Thriller, Erotic

We gave it a B

In Blue Velvet, David Lynch took the stuff of steamy-trashy film-noir melodrama and transformed it into art. Dennis Hopper’s The Hot Spot turns it back into trash — and I don’t mean that as a put-down. The movie is Hopper’s attempt to make a vintage-’50s erotic thriller featuring such archetypal characters as the attractive stranger (Don Johnson) who wanders into town looking to rustle a quick buck; the hot-and-bothered blond (Virginia Madsen) who is sinful to the core (and therefore sexy as hell); the alluringly virginal good girl (Jennifer Connelly) who may not be so good after all; and assorted losers, hustlers, and redneck creeps. The film might have been a camp hoot if it weren’t for the fact that Hopper still believes in all this stuff — he likes his women molten, duplicitous, and in kinky high heels. Hopper still hasn’t learned how to pace a movie, but working from Charles Williams’ 1952 novel Hell Hath No Fury he comes up with a reasonably diverting hothouse yarn. The sex scenes, though, are too tame. Next time Hopper would do well to shoot for NC-17. B