Movie: Body of Evidence
Release Date: January 15, 1993
Director: Uli Edel
Starring: Madonna, Willem Dafoe, Joe Mantegna, Anne Archer, Julianne Moore, Jurgen Prochnow, Frank Langella.
Tag Lines: “An act of love, or an act of murder?”
“This is the murder weapon. Her name is Rebecca.”
Relevance: As famous as Madonna was (and is), she never was really lauded for her acting, although she is a Golden Globe award winning actress. I think the problem with Madonna as an “actress” was that she was such a polarizing figure (you either loved her or loathed her) and she was already so famous that when audiences went to see her films, they knew who she was, had a formed opinion about her and weren’t going to budge either way. I will also add that Madonna’s choices in films were more “art house” than mainstream. There were a few popular films in which she did get okay or decent reviews, but were for films that were more mainstream. With that said, it’s probably no surprise that I think she actually can act. I am after all a super obsessed mega-fan. This is her second film of eight (see 215. Four Rooms for the first) to appear on my list of most influential movies of all time.
‘Body of Evidence’ was the third part of a Madonna sexually charged trifecta that started in October of 1992. The first, Madonna’s fifth studio album “Erotica,” was released on October 20, 1992. I was one of the first to grab it on cassette while I was away at college. I had to borrow a friend’s car and travel forty-five minutes to get it, but nothing stops me when it comes to Madonna. I still remember the sticker on the packaging that said “aural sex.” It made me giggle. I always got her humor. It’s wicked and ironic but very amusing. Of course, I adored the album. It was gritty, earthy, raw and very personal. “Erotica“ was overlooked at the time of its release, even though it debuted at number two on the Top 200 Billboard Album chart and sold over two million copies in the United States. However, it has been retrospectively considered one of “The 100 Best Albums of the 1990s” by Slant Magazine and one of the most revolutionary albums of all time by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Many critics now note the influence of the album on the works of other female artists from Janet Jackson to Beyoncé.
The next day, October 21, 1992, Madonna’s photograph book “Sex” was released. It was very controversial and I actually did not drive back out to the mall to get my copy. I waited. Why? Because it was on my Christmas list for my mom. And of course, she delivered the goods. So on Christmas Day in 1992, I was carefully turning the pages of Madonna’s “Sex” book and giggling that my mom went and bought it for me. The book sold over 150,000 copies on its first day, and remains the fastest-selling coffee table book of all time. It topped the New York Times Best Seller list and went on to sell more than 1.5 million copies worldwide. “Sex” attracted extensive media attention and backlash. Though it initially received negative reviews from fans and critics who felt she had “gone too far,” later reviews have been more positive, with academics deeming it a defining phase in Madonna’s career. It is noted for its social and cultural impact and is considered a bold post-feminist work and has become one of the most sought-after out-of-print books.
Finally, Madonna’s third of her “one-two-three sex punch” was released on movie screens on January 15, 1993. Unfortunately I was headed back to college for my final semester and missed it when it played in theaters. It was a box office bomb, it was panned by critics and it disappeared in theaters faster than I could get to one. I was devastated. I had to wait for the movie to be released as a rental. But you know that as soon as it was, I was the first in line. And of course, I loved the movie. It had more of an art house feel to it, but it was definitely hot, definitely sexy and her performance was totally unlike anything I had seen her do before. I watched it alone, I then watched it with friends and then watched it alone again, loving it more and more every time that I watched it. It was not a bad movie like everyone made it out to be. It was very sexually explicit, thus making everyone in puritanical America call it a bad movie. But like I always say, one man’s art is another man’s porn.
The “Erotica” era, including ‘Body of Evidence’ is one of my favorite Madonna eras of all time. I listen to the album all of the time, and am still moved by its art. It is an album that gets better and better with age. I also still own the “Sex” book and keep it well protected when not giving it a glance over. And of course I own ‘Body of Evidence’ on DVD and have watched it numerous times throughout the years. Rebecca Carlson is one bad bitch, and in my humble opinion, Madonna played the shit out of her.
Today’s Thoughts: “Don’t look so hurt, Alan. I fucked you, I fucked Andrew, I fucked Frank. That’s what I do; I fuck. And it made me 8 million dollars!”
I love ‘Body of Evidence’ and that is one of my favorite quotes from it. I was thrilled to be watching the movie again today on my husband’s birthday. Even though I already bought his gifts, maybe I will learn a few things from the movie that I can give him later. *wink wink*
Is it a perfect movie? No. Of course not. But it really isn’t that bad. The entire cast, including Madonna, Willem Dafoe, Joe Mantegna, Anne Archer and Julianne Moore all do a fine job in it. (And even though Ms. Moore has called it “a big mistake” to act in the film, I forgive her and still love her.) There is a dinner scene where Madonna’s character talks about strawberries and it has to be my favorite scene in the film. She shows such a vulnerability in that scene and ironically is fully clothed. The woman can act. Just watch that scene.
The sex scenes are incredibly kinky, erotic and hot. They are quite raw and ambitious even when compared to films being produced today. There is of course quite a bit of nudity but as much as I strain, I can’t seem to find a penis. If you look on line, it is noted that there is a brief shot of both a penis and testicles. I have the unrated version on DVD, and as much as I would like to report another “penis on film,” I simply can’t as I did not see one. And trust me, I paused and slow motioned the hell out of every sex scene. I saw a lot. But alas no penis.
Listen, I know people hate ‘Body of Evidence.’ Some also think Madonna is a terrible actress. All I will say to that is, they are one hundred percent wrong and get your own fucking list of influential movies and blog about them. It might not be your cup of tea, but it is mine and the movie has influenced me time and time again and will continue to do so until the day I die. Watch it. I dare you. And if you see a penis, let me know.
Ways to Watch: Tubi, Vudu, Pluto TV, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.