Body Heat (1981)
Is it possible to criticize a film for being too plotted if the plotting is done by the characters themselves? Maybe, but it won't make a particularly good arguement with Lawrence Kasdan's directoral debut, Body Heat - a film so relentlessly slick and stylish that it uses the fact that it raids the vault of film noir clichés to its advantage.
William Hurt stars (in the first of many collaborations with Kasdan) as the sly, smooth-talking womanizer who meets hot femme fatale Kathleen Turner. The first part of the film is a homage to 1940s noir - and shamelessly so. Kasdan directs with an amazing sense of visuals. Nearly every scene is bursting with eroticism, and Hurt and Turner nearly ignite together. The hottest scenes here are better than most of the many erotic thrillers that came out of the 80s, but what's even better is that Kasdan underlines them with enduring suspense that doesn't feel forced or out of place.
In the end, Body Heat is a bit too much plot, and the psychology of the Matty-character is all over the place, but the style and atmosphere of the film elevates it above these problems. The film has far too much energy and poise to be halted by a few implausible events. And as the web is spun around Hurt, Kasdan uses every opportunity to create ambiguousness without throwing away his well-portrayed characters. Additionally, you'll have to search thoroughly to find a film in which the characters sweat more than they do here. Ted Danson is brilliant as Hurt's buddy, and the two leads kick-started careers that would make them two of the greatest stars of the decade.