Body Of Evidence

1993, Movie, R, 99 mins

Review

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Despite teaming the director of LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN and the star who, according to David Letterman, "just wants to shock us," this "adult thriller" is a surprisingly wan affair bordering on big-star kitsch. Madonna plays Rebecca Carlson, an art gallery owner facing murder charges following the death of a wealthy lover who has left her $8 million in his will--according to DA Joe Mantegna, she knowingly caused him to die of sexual excitement. She hires attorney Willem Dafoe to defend her; later, she also takes him as her lover, much to the consternation of his wife, who finds burn marks from candle wax on his chest and cuts on his back from broken glass. Dafoe mounts a defense to counter every startling surprise witness and shocking revelation Mantegna is able to muster for his prosecution. Although she's acquitted, the real truth isn't revealed until the violent denouement.

In her attempts to cast herself among the great sex stars of the stage and screen, it's becoming clear that what Madonna lacks isn't the body or the attitude, but a sense of humor. Her best performances so far have come in comedies like DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN and A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. But BODY OF EVIDENCE is at its most hilarious in the deadly earnestness with which it unfolds its ludicrous plot, populated by paper-thin characters who range from the underdeveloped to the simply inane. BODY is oddly conflicted by the sheer unpleasantness of its depiction of sex. There is little, if any, erotic chemistry between Dafoe and Madonna, and, as a result, their sex scenes look more like hard work than pleasure. leave a comment

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