Viking Night: The Last Seduction
By Bruce Hall
July 17, 2012
Rule Number One in life - never mess with someone who's got nothing to lose. It's an immutable law of the animal kingdom, not to mention the only reason raccoons still exist as a species. But as humans we forget that size, strength and ability are often nothing in the face of ravenous intent. When someone is willing to destroy themselves to get what they want out of you, it might be a good idea to just let them have it. The problem is, what works in nature is often less cut and dry in the city. Everybody knows raccoons just don't care. Unfortunately, they're harder to spot when they're in human form.
Case in point, the Clay and Bridgett Gregory. Clay (Bill Pullman) is a small time hood who might have been an aspiring pharmacy student at one time but as we all know, school is hard. So he ekes out a living writing illegal prescriptions for junkies and drifters. He's relatively bright but has no talent for crime, not to mention an angry, unstable side that he keeps just below the surface. Write this down somewhere now - Clay is the most normal person in this movie.
His wife Bridget (Linda Fiorentino) manages a fly by night telemarketing outfit and is what you might call a "brutal ice queen,” if you were trying to be nice. She stalks the floor, cigarette in hand, belching smoke and epithets, and browbeating her crew like a boxing coach. Clearly, it would take a desperate person to consent to such unforgiving work. Long hours in a smoke filled dungeon, selling defective merchandise to unsuspecting rubes while some bitter shrew barks at you like a junkyard dog is no way to make a living. Bridget is smart enough to know this, and she wants out. She's a demanding woman who loves the finer things in life, but has come to resent Clay's inability to provide them.
So, she convinces her husband to borrow a hundred thousand dollars from a loan shark, use it to procure some pharmaceutical grade cocaine and flip it for almost ten times the price. The plan works, and Clay returns home flush with pride and heavy with almost one million dollars in cash. When Bridget berates him on a minor point of execution, he responds by giving her the Pimp Hand and jumping in the shower. It's at this point that Clay violates Rule Number One, and he pays for it dearly when Bridget takes the money and runs. The way you can tell she's mad is that she doesn't leave him enough to pay back the loan shark. So within 24 hours Clay is nursing a broken thumb, and a burning lust for revenge.
It's like I've always said - nothing ruins a relationship faster than money. Am I right?
Meanwhile, on the advice of her attorney Bridget picks a place to settle down and lie low. She chooses the town of Beston, New York. It's a quaint little suburb of Buffalo where nobody locks their doors, everyone has a flag on their front porch, and every sentence begins with "please" and "thank you.” Even the drunks are friendly, and no doubt even Andy Griffith would get run out of town for being too edgy. But there exist martyrs even among saints, and in this case that would be Mike Swayle (Peter Berg, before he moved behind the camera), who just rolled into town after a disastrous attempt to start anew in Buffalo. Mike is a hopeless dreamer whose heart compels him to make rash decisions. He loves to talk about his feelings and desperately romanticizes about meeting a woman strong enough to pry him away from Beston.