Combustible Celluloid
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With: Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Connelly, Debra Cole, Jerry Hardin, William Sadler, Charles Martin Smith, Barry Corbin, Leon Rippy, Jack Nance, Virgil Frye
Written by: Nona Tyson, Charles Williams, based on a novel by Charles Williams
Directed by: Dennis Hopper
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 130
Date: 08/01/1990

The Hot Spot (1990)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Fire Thrill

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Dennis Hopper directed this vivid neo-noir that doesn't always work, and is far too long, but gets by on style. Don Johnson plays a drifter, Harry Madox, who rolls into a hot Texas town and lands a job selling cars. He attracts the attention of a pretty accountant, Gloria Harper (Jennifer Connelly), and the boss's wife Dolly Harshaw (Virginia Madsen). Meanwhile, he has a spiffy plan to rob the local bank (all the employees are volunteer firemen). Dolly seduces him, and then has him over a barrel when she's the only one who can give him an alibi. Even in 2021, Johnson looks impossibly cool in his late-80s ripply, loose suits, Connelly is as beautiful at that time as any woman in the history of the world, and Madsen is a perfect femme fatale, sensuous and wicked. Hopper directs with a strong sense of the sweltering heat, and a sure touch for the genre, as well as a sense of cruelty. The memorable music score by Jack Nitzsche features performances by Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker, and others. Kino Lorber released The Hot Spot on a gorgeous new Blu-ray, complete with a commentary track by author Bryan Reesman, interviews with Madsen and co-star William Sadler, and trailers.

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