Body of Evidence (1993 film)
|Body of Evidence|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Uli Edel|
|Produced by||Dino De Laurentiis|
|Written by||Brad Mirman|
|Music by||Graeme Revell|
|Edited by||Thom Noble|
Guild Film Distribution
|Box office||$13.2 million|
Body of Evidence is a 1993 American erotic thriller film produced by Dino De Laurentiis and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and originally had the rare NC-17 rating. It was directed by Uli Edel and written by Brad Mirman. The film stars Madonna and Willem Dafoe, with Joe Mantegna, Anne Archer, Julianne Moore and Jürgen Prochnow in supporting roles.
The first theatrical release was censored for the purpose of obtaining an R rating, reducing the film's running time from 101 to 99 minutes. The video première, however, restored the deleted material. Madonna's performance in the film was universally derided by film critics and it marked her fourth film acting performance to be widely panned, following Shanghai Surprise, Who's That Girl and Bloodhounds of Broadway.
In France and Japan, the film was released under the name Body. In Japan Madonna's other 1993 film Dangerous Game was released there as Body II even though the films have nothing in common nor are related to each other in narrative.
An older man, Andrew Marsh, views a homemade pornographic tape. It is later revealed the man died from complications stemming from erotic asphyxiation. The main suspect is the woman who has sex with Marsh in the film, Rebecca Carlson, who after being charged with murder is represented by lawyer Frank Dulaney. The trial begins in Portland, Oregon, and it is not long before Carlson and Dulaney enter a sadomasochistic sexual relationship behind the back of Dulaney's unsuspecting wife.
During their first sexual encounter, Dulaney, overcome by lust, notices too late that Carlson is tying his arms behind his back using his own belt. Carlson pushes him onto the bed, removes his underwear, and while he is restrained, she humiliates him by pouring hot candle wax on his chest, stomach, and genitals, amused by the frustration and increasingly desperate reactions she is eliciting from Dulaney. The two then have sex with Carlson in complete control, an obvious counterpoint to their relationship in the courtoom, where Dulaney is the one in control.
Carlson proclaims her innocence to Dulaney in private and in court, but district attorney Robert Garrett seeks to prove that Carlson deliberately killed Marsh in bed to receive the $8 million he left her in his will. The testimony of Marsh's private secretary, Joanne Braslow, reveals that he had a sexual relationship with her that could have contributed to his death, casting a reasonable doubt as to Carlson's guilt.
Dulaney can not resist Carlson sexually but does not trust her. He maligns Carlson with accusations of her withholding information from him. She plays off timid and upset while he gets angry at her. He makes it clear their affair needs to end and implies he may drop her as a client. That night he goes to the restaurant where his wife works, and she appears clearly upset. She tells him Carlson called her and accuses him of sleeping with her. Dulaney initially plays it off as if she is paranoid, but when she reveals telltale evidence, it is clear he can no longer deny it. She storms off.
Dulaney goes to Carlson's home and angrily demands she tell him what she told his wife. At first she acts innocent, but then she taunts and teases him, which angers him even more, and throws her to the ground. They stare angrily at each other, but it quickly turns to excitement. The two have rough sex again. When Carlson pulls out handcuffs, it angers Delaney. He cuffs her hands to her bed post and roughly initiates sex her, though she enjoys it.
Carlson is shown in court to have had previous sexual relationships with a number of older rich men, including Jeffery Roston, in which her lovemaking was just as rough. Roston says that she abruptly ended their relationship when he got heart surgery and became healthier. Carlson's testimony convinces the jury, which acquits her. Before leaving court, she mockingly thanks her attorney for getting a guilty client off, fully aware that he cannot repeat what she said and that she can not be tried twice for the same crime.
That night, Dulaney visits Carlson's home, where he finds her with Marsh's doctor, Alan Payley, freely discussing the way they conspired to kill Marsh. She taunts Payley by telling him to lie low, as he could be convicted of perjury, and tells him to leave because she has already forgotten him. Carlson bluntly tells Dulaney that her sexual prowess is how she is able to make men do anything. An enraged Payley lashes out at Carlson physically and, after Dulaney pulls him off, Payley shoots her twice. She plunges from a window to her death.
- Madonna as Rebecca Carlson
- Willem Dafoe as Frank Dulaney
- Joe Mantegna as Robert Garrett
- Anne Archer as Joanne Braslow
- Julianne Moore as Sharon Dulaney
- Stan Shaw as Charles Briggs
- Charles Hallahan as Dr. McCurdy
- Lillian Lehman as Judge Burnham
- Mark Rolston as Detective Reese
- Jeff Perry as Gabe
- Richard Riehle as Detective Griffin
- Jürgen Prochnow as Dr. Alan Payley
- Frank Langella as Jeffrey Roston
Reception and controversy
The film was almost universally panned by critics and was nominated for six Golden Raspberries, including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Willem Dafoe), Worst Director, Worst Supporting Actress (Anne Archer) and Worst Screenplay, with Madonna winning Worst Actress. It also appeared on the 2005 list of Roger Ebert's most hated films. The screenplay and performances were especially disparaged. Body of Evidence has a 6% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes based on 34 reviews.
Body of Evidence also exacerbated an already burgeoning controversy about Madonna's frequent association with pornography. Before its release she had already published her softcore coffee table book Sex, and the film features her and Dafoe's characters in graphic scenes of simulated rape, cunnilingus, anal and public intercourse. Madonna re-created her look from the film for the music video of her song "Bad Girl", released at the same time.
- "Body of Evidence (1993)". Imdb Business. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- David J. Fox (1992-08-31). "Madonna Set to Push Limits Once More With NC-17 Movie". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
- McKenna, Kristine (1992-04-19). "Willem Dafoe is making the leap from incendiary character actor to romantic leading roles opposite Susan Sarandon and Madonna". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
- Fox, David J. (1992-10-30). "Madonna's Movie Will Be Edited for 'R'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
- Rainer, Peter (1993-01-23). "Madonna as Actress? The 'Evidence' Is In". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
- Galbraith, Jane (1992-04-23). "Politician Doesn't Want Madonna's 'Body'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
- James, Caryn (1993-01-17). "FILM VIEW; Madonna's Best Role Remains Madonna". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
- Ebert, Roger (1993-01-15). "Body Of Evidence". Chicago Sun-Times. RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- Siskel, Gene (1993-01-15). "Madonna's `Body' Is More Laughable Than Her Book". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
- Fox, David J. (1993-01-19). "Weekend Box Office `Body' Struggles to Make the Top 5". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
- Fox, David J. (1993-01-26). "Weekend Box Office `Aladdin's' Magic Carpet Ride". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-18.