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The Hot Spot (Bluray Review)

3 min read

Courtesy of Radiance Films

Released on the cusp of the 90s boom of erotic thrillers, The Hot Spot, directed by , is drenched in sweat, blood and tears, it has everything you would want from a Neo Noir film.

Drifter Harry Madox takes a somewhat dead-end job as a car salesman in a small town in Texas. He gets involved with two very different women, the naïve young accountant, Gloria, and the scheming flirtatious Dolly, who's husband owns the car dealership. After Harry decides to rob the local bank, he becomes embroiled in a hot a mess of lust, blackmail and arson with murder looking like the only way out.

The unbearable feeling of being stuck in a small town with nowhere to go, Harry the drifter is our way into this microcosm of am existence and hopefully our way out. Its not quite clear what his plan is, and we doubt he even knows until a fire breaks out and offers a clear path. But with these crime thrillers, nothing is ever simple. The truth about why people commit crimes becomes oh so true as Harry succumbs to the charms of women, money and some kind of freedom. Appearing as a tough guy with no ties to anyone, he holds all the power but this is slowly withered away the more time he spends with Gloria and Dolly. The knife twisting end doesn't come as a shock but the journey there is exciting to watch.

Courtesy of

The rather straight forward emotional needs and sexual appetite of Harry are predictable; him wanting the innocent sweet Gloria and using the vamp-ish Dolly. This simplified view of women slipping into two categories, the virgin, and the whore, is just to serve the men of the world, a known and common trait in Film Noir and Neo Noir. Though both women, even Gloria, have their own agendas. Dolly does not quite buck the trend of the femme fatale, instead of getting the man, in this case, Harry, to do her bidding, she takes care of business all by herself. Gloria, though docile and gentle on the outside, she shows openly that she desires Harry and doesn't act quite prim and proper has other characters of her nature in other stories. Ultimately the women are cast into the same old characters as men would view them, but they have their own fun along the way.

oozes the charisma even when he's brought low, but the stand out of the film is as Dolly who relishes every single second she's on screen as the femme fatale of the piece. As director, Hopper has an uncanny eye for the sleaze beneath the surface and bringing out the twisted morality in his actors. Despite the few flaws; the pacing loses grip midway through and is somewhat wooden throughout, The Hot Spot entertains and ends on a satisfying note some films in the same genre just don't have.

Radiance continues to release fascinating and somewhat hidden gems with The Hot Spot, including interviews, images and archive footage in the special features which any cinephile would be intrigued by.

The Hot Spot will be released by Radiance Films on 19th June