Just as I thought I’ve seen all the good neo-noir movies of the nineties I stumbled upon this one. The Hot Spot is not only a neo-noir but also an erotic thriller considering just how many provocative scenes there are here. And it’s not just the sheer quantity but also the way they’re filmed. The director is none other than Dennis Hopper, whom you might know from Easy Rider or more likely, Lynch’s Blue Velvet. These steamy scenes linger and have this voyeuristic quality about them. They’re not sleazy but more carnal and engaging. Leave to Hopper to come with this stuff, we love you, you old pervert!
The story is as old as time with a drifter settling in a small town while looking for a fresh start. But the trouble seems to follow him everywhere he goes. The Hot Spot boasts an incredible cast led by irresistible Don Johnson. He was the perfect choice for this role with his swagger, street smarts, and bad boy charm. However, this is a movie where all three leads are quite memorable. Virginia Madsen gave one hell of a performance as the veritable femme fatale along with timid Jennifer Connelly playing the quaint girl with a smoking hot body.
Both of them have nude scenes here but more importantly, they play these immortal characters. You have the wild temptress and the rational girl who might totally surprise you as she’s hiding a lot. All of this makes The Hot Spot a very intriguing character study. And on top of all of this, we have a heist, murder, theft, blackmail, and a lot of other little things. The setting reminded me of Angel Heart with the constant Texas heat and sweat pouring from every pore of your body.
But the story is much more reminiscent of The Witches Of Eastwick starring Jack Nicholson. I also want to mention all the cool cars we’ll be seeing here. And while a pink 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Dolly drives might just take the cake I personally liked the 1959 Studebaker Silver Hawk from the opening scene more. Not just because it’s a “man’s car” but also because it’s just so damn cool.
Harry Madox is a man we don’t know much about. He appears in a small Texas town one day and immediately gets the job of a car salesman. He seems to be a natural when it comes to talking to people. This is how he will get the attention of the shy bookkeeper Gloria and the owner’s wife, Dolly. However, Harry has his eyes set on something else. He noticed something on the first day he came into town and ever since then he couldn’t stop thinking about it. And this is where things start to get complicated.
With a running time of just over two hours, The Hot Spot will take up your entire movie night. So, be ready for it and wait for the perfect night. You’ll sense it, don’t worry. I started watching it late last night and it kept my attention without any problems. Now, the ending might seem a bit underwhelming but it’s still pretty solid. And the script is just pure gold with a lot of memorable lines. Although the exchange between Harry and Sutton I think is the best one:
Sutton: So, you think you’re the tough guy. Harry: No, you’re the tough guy. I’m much worse than that.
Now if that doesn’t put some hair on your chest, I don’t know what is. And just as you start thinking that this is a movie just for men, I assure you it is not. I think that the female parts of the audience will enjoy The Hot Spot just as much as the male. And I’m not just saying that because Don Johnson is half-naked most of the time with his naked ass adorning many scenes. Plus, the story is quite intelligent and dare I say realistic. All of this makes this movie one of the most underrated noir movies of all time. So, be sure to check it out.
Finally, I have to mention a couple of other, similar movies if you’re looking for more of the same. Of course, Blood Simple is an obvious choice but I also recommend Kill Me Again and Red Rock West. That last one actually stars Dennis Hopper. And if you like stories about men without past suddenly appearing, do check out 2021’s Nightmare Alley.
Director: Dennis Hopper
Writers: Charles Williams, Nona Tyson
Cast: Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Connelly, William Sadler, Charles Martin Smith, Jerry Hardin
Fun Facts: Director Dennis Hopper’s first choice for the lead roles were actors Mickey Rourke and Debra Winger.