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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
William Hurt
Kathleen Turner
Richard Crenna
Ted Danson
Mickey Rourke.
Directors
Lawrence Kasdan.
Screenwriters
Lawrence Kasdan.
Running Time
113 minutes

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Body Heat
An all star cast sizzle in this sexed-up tribute to 1940s noir


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Plot
When smalltown Florida lawyer Ned Racine falls for the sultry but very married Matty Walker, a torrid affair begins. They then hatch a plot to murder her rich husband, but things may not be what they seem.


Review

Openly intending to reinvent the seething amorality of film noirs heyday in the ‘40s and ‘50s, Lawrence Kasdan gets his two key ingredients dead on: the cold heart of his screenplay and the sheer heat of his leading lady. It’s not for nothing that Kathleen Turner, who was making her debut, would be the prototype for Jessica Rabbit, she starts every conversation with her body, finishing them off with the razor edge of her tongue: “You’re not too smart, I like that in a man.”

As with noir’s abiding tenets, William Hurt’s offbeat bottom-dwelling lawyer deserves everything he’s going to get, but, thanks to the actor’s skill in giving him a human strain, we still catch the note of his despair. He’s seedy, an over-aged bachelor priding himself on his womanising skills. It’s his judgement that’s well off. After a night of this kind of passion — and Kasdan revolves his plot around the landmark va-va-voom of their sexual encounter — who wouldn’t get a bit cock-eyed. He’s just a normal, greedy, lust-driven guy, she’s got things going on.

Thus, when they plot the perfect murder, of Richard Crenna’s weasley but loaded husband, you just know something dark and complicated will unfold in the background. Kasdan fuses the traditions of old into his contemporary setting with some subtlety — the intricacies of legalese and America’s obsession with real estate are keynotes in the wiring of the set-up. 

In an inspired creative move, the director takes the basic visual motifs of the genre — turn down the lights and let the shadows fall long — and adds stark humidity. The film is set during the sweltering prelude to a storm, a heated mirror to their illicit passions. And, as events so inevitably collapse around Racine’s ears, the natural recompense for the sordidness of his life, so Kasdan achieves his goal, creating a film to sit proudly in the legacy of those nihilistic standard bearers of the past.


Verdict
Still regarded as one of the steamiest movie's of all time, Body Heat is a fantastic exponenet of how noir has developed.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Body Heat
Empire Star Rating

Erotic masterpiece...

...in my teens I would quite often "wear myself out" over Kathleen Turner in Body Heat. She just oozes sexuality. Great flick too. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jim Bob at 09:19, 25 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Body Heat

am officially never posting a review again. allys exactly what I said ... More

Posted by Jessica_ca_ca_ca at 17:48, 16 April 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Body Heat

Lawrence Kasdan's debut as director, ate of those rare animals in Hollywood-an "erotic thriller" that actually erotic. Kasdan sucks us in from the get-go, introducing us to dopey lawyer Ned Racine(William Hurt), an ambulance-chaser seemingly happy with his vacuous existence dallying with local bimbos, and defending obvious, but petty crooks with his more intelligent fellow lawyer and pal Peter(Ted Danson), and the more restained Oscar(J.A. Preston). On a steamy evening, he meets Maddie, played ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Peter A. Quinn at 14:04, 16 April 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Body Heat

This movie pulls you in as soon as you sit there and begin watching it. The content is engrossing - a heated affair conducted in the midst of a heat wave with a seedy lawyer and hard-hearted ambitious wife being at the heart of it all. It is probably one of William Hurt's and Kathleen Turner's greatest roles since it is listed as having one of the sexiest moments in movie history. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jessica_ca_ca_ca at 18:14, 14 April 2006 | Report This Post


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