The Hot Spot Review

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Drifter Don Johnson roch's up in a small town and gets a job in a car lot while he plots to rob the local bank. He's drawn into a lustful affair with the bosses wife, who happens to mention her rich huband has a heart problem, and they're definitely a pair to take advantage of such a tragedy, though it is nymphet accountant Jennifer Connoley he's really interested in.


Drifter Don Johnson shows up in a Texas town - the instantly recognisable kind of zero population one-horse burg that has a filling station, a burger bar, three acres of car lot, a large bank and a lavish nudie dance joint - and gets a job on the car lot while he schemes to rob the bank. He's also sucked into a thing with the boss's wife (Madsen), whose idea of romance is shoving a gun under his chin while she gives him a blow job, even though it's obvious that his vestigial higher instincts will lead him to fall in love with nymphet accountant Jennifer Connelly.

Given that this is an obvious steal from Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice and Body Heat, the plot isn't too hard to work out, especially when the reliably slimy William Sadler turns up as a blackmailing scumbag and Madsen happens to mention that her rich hubby has a bad heart and just one more shock could send him over the edge into flatline country.

Indeed, the major surprise here is that this story, ripped from a fast 'n' sleazy 1952 novel by Charles Williams (author also of Dead Calm), manages to be as long-winded and dull as it is. Director Dennis Hopper continues the fumbling manner of Colors and the forthcoming-but-disowned Catchfire, drawing out what ought to be a 72 minute B-picture into two hours and ten minutes of sweaty silliness with three pretty stars who can't quite bring themselves to be camp enough for the material.

Johnson poses a lot in his vest and makes absolutely nothing of a role which would have been great - as originally intended - for Robert Mitchum in the 50s, while Connelly has developed from the vapid child of Phenomena and Labyrinth into the vapid young adult on display here. Only Madsen, who has the best clothes and lipstick as the blowsy tramp who ties up her husband and means it when she declares "I'm going to fuck you to death", is remotely entertaining, and even she was much better in a similar fatale role in the underrated The Dead Can't Lie. A major disappointment for Hopperheads and noir freaks alike.

A major disappointment for Hopperheads and noir freaks alike.