Grammy® and Golden Globe® winner Madonna stars with Oscar® nominees* Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer and Julianne Moore in this "bold, shocking and titillating" ("Entertainment Tonight Radio") erotic thriller. Rebecca Carlson (... more »Madonna) is a powerful woman. Intelligent, successful and breathtakingly beautiful, she can bring almost any man to his knees. And that's exactly where she wants them. But when a night of sexual abandon ends in the death of a prominent businessman, Rebecca finds herself on trial for murder. Now it's up to her attorney (Dafoe) to proveher innocence...but when he becomes entangled in her web of erotic game-playing, his body of evidence begins to contain as many curves as his client. *Dafoe: Supporting Actor, Shadow of the Vampire (2000); Platoon (1986); Archer: Supporting Actress, Fatal Attraction (1987); Moore: Actress, The End of the Affair (1999); Supporting Actress, Boogie Nights (1997); Supporting Actress, The Hours (2002); Actress, Far From Heaven (2002)« less
"Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
After the surprise success of 1992's controversial erotic thriller Basic Instinct, studios starting snatching up every similar script floating around in an attempt to cash in on that film's success. One of the most infamous attempts at ripping off Basic Instinct was the 1993 Madonna vehicle entitled Body of Evidence. Before the movie's initial theatrical release, there was a considerable buzz surrounding the movie's numerous explicit sex scenes between Madonna and a slumming Willem Dafoe. People were talking about how in-your-face these scenes were. There also were some rumors that some of the sex scenes weren't completely faked.
But the movie ran into huge problems with the MPAA and almost all of the sex got cut out of the R-rated theatrical version. Regardless, the movie was pretty awful regardless and died a quick death at the box office. It also really hurt Madonna's credibility at that time and was viewed as severely damaging to her overall career. When it was released on video, MGM released it in both its R-rated version as well as an unrated cut that restored all of the explicit sex that had to be removed from the R version. (The unrated cut is the version that I'm basing my review on BTW). It's also been rumored that the European cut is still even more explicit than even the unrated American cut but I haven't seen it to compare and sitting through this movie more than once might cause me irreperable brain damage.
The plot involves Rebecca Carlson (Madonna) who has been accused of murdering her much older lover by deliberately having kinky sex with him despite his severe heart condition. Frank Dulaney (Willem Dafoe) is a defense attorney who gets assigned to her case. He is married to Sharon (Julianne Moore) and has a son. Robert Garrett (Joe Mantegna) is the prosecutor. During the trial the highly flirtatious and kinky Rebecca begins to weave a spell over Frank and pretty soon he's having a torrid affair with her while the trial is still going on. He does a decent job keeping it from his wife for awhile , but naturally, she eventually finds out. There's also the deceased man's secretary Joanne (Anne Archer) who is convinced that Madonna killed him to get his riches but it turns out that Joanne may have been much closer to her employer than just working for him.
The plot chugs along to a thoroughly predictable climax and mainly serves as a canvas for some surprisingly explicit and energetic (though about as far from erotic as you can get) simulated sex scenes. I'll admit that some of these scenes went quite a bit farther than I was expecting them to go (the scene in the parking garage where they do it on the hood of a car for instance). I'm really not sure how the director thought much of the sex footage would get past the MPAA relatively intact when he had a scene of a nude-from-the-waste-down Madonna literally sitting on Willem Dafoe's face (in fairly graphic detail) on the hood of his car while he performs oral sex on her. There is also the infamous scene of Madonna pouring hot candle wax all over Willem that in another movie with a much more convincing (and better) actress and director, it could have been very kinky and erotic. Here it just plays out as silly and unintentionally funny.
The reason that this turkey is still worth checking out is that it is very clear that everyone involved wasn't taking this movie that seriously. A lot of the performances are extremely tongue in cheek. Not that it makes it any better mind you. But it's one of the most unintentionally funny movies that I've watched in quite some time. Madonna can't act to save her life, but a lot of her scenes had me laughing until I was in tears. Even though she displays an apparent willingness to let it all hang out, so to speak, she literally keeps just one expression on her face throughout practically the whole movie. Willem Dafoe fares a little better, as does the always lovely Julianne Moore (who also has a prettty explicit, but quick, sex scene with Willem Dafoe), but there's only so much you can do acting wise with characters and a plot as silly as this. The rest of the cast serves more or less as just filler and plays their characters just like the stereotypes that they are that normally populate erotic thrillers such as this. The film does boast some considerably better cinmatography and direction than the material required. Director Uli Edel apparently has a good eye for detail and mood, but all of his efforts are wasted in the nonstop parade of stupidity.
I guess if you're a big fan of Madonna, the thought of seeing her nude and in some explicit sexual situations is reason enough to check this movie out. But I really haven't been able to stand her throughout most of her career and have always found her to be somewhat of a joke (singing or acting wise).
While this movie strives way too hard to be Basic Instinct 2, what it forgot is that the reason that Basic Instinct worked was that it actually had a good script in addition to a lead actress in Sharon Stone who was unbelievably hot as well as being a great actress. Madonna doesn't look bad nude, in fact she has a pretty happening body. She does an ample amount of full frontal nudity throughout the film so fans take not. But at this point in her career she had made her living at flaunting herself at any and every opputunity and I had just gotten to the point where she doesn't do a thing for me, nude or otherwise. I've been extremely desensitized to her routine.
This movie came close to being a career killer for all involved, but with the slew of similar erotic thrillers that were being dumped into thrillers around that point (Sliver, Jade) people just ended up forgetting about this movie. While I think that there's some entertainment value to be found in this movie (though it's all unintentional), a lot of people will find this movie thoroughly derivative and poorly made. But, I still recommend it to people since it is so silly and goofy. It's really good for a few laughs. (BTW if you are a fan of the now defunct show Mystery Science Theater 3000, this is an incredibly easy (and fun) movie to rip apart).
The recent DVD released by MGM has both the unrated and rated versions of the film on either side of the disc. Most curiousity seekers will probably just stick with the unrated version for the extra nudity/sex. The movie is present in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen but the only extra is the theatrical trailer and an awful 8 minute featurette on the making of this awful but unintentionally hilarious film.
Body of Evidence is unrated and contains explicit sexual content & nudity, graphic language and violence.
The edited R rated version contains strong sexual content, nudity, strong language and violence.
I am ashamed, but I love this movie
firstname.lastname@example.org | morecambe, UK | 12/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, so the plot of this film may be laughable - the only person who seems to break the law
is dafoe's character (who illegally has sexual relations with his client, and commits rape),
but that's not the point of watching this movie.
The reason I would recommend this film is simple - watching madonna, the sexiest woman ever,
doing what she does best. She looks incredible, and her performance is excellent. The only
criticisms I would have of 'body of evidence' are that we seem to see dafoe naked more often
than madonna, and the sex scenes have large sections edited out of them.
The film's most (in)famous scene, where madonna seduces dafoe, ties him up with his own belt
then teases and tortures him by pouring hot wax onto his body is, in my opinion, the sexiest ever
commited to celluloid, with great preformances from both actors. Quite frankly, I can't beleive
how lucky willem dafoe is, getting paid to film this scene with madonna.
The 'twist' at the end of the movie is predictable and pretty dull, but I give 'body of evidence'
five out of five for madonna's unbelievable body."
Alyssa | New York | 01/03/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is predictable from the beginning to the end. Even the incredibly sexy Willem Defoe could not redeem the plot. Although he was the only thing keeping me from stopping to watch the movie."
Alyssa | 10/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Body of Evidence was a very good movie. Some people will probably hate it, but I can only speak from my viewing, and I thought it was a very good movie."
Not as bad as Madonna-haters would have you think
Alyssa | 08/15/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although, not the most brilliant movie ever made it iscertainly not the worst. Madonna was herald as the reason this moviewas so horrible, but if you notice her performance in no better or worse than any of the other actors. And,as always she bares the entire burden of our (the public's) hang-ups. You know what though? All that aside, it's a fairly decent movie. I mean, it does, at least have a plot, and there is suspense and sex (general movie fare). If you're a fan of the now ethereal girl, this is a gem and milestone from her past."