The Hot Spot
Time Out saysAfter an impressively laconic, enigmatic opening - Harry Madox (Johnson) drifts into a dusty Texan town and successfully makes a sale at a used-car lot owned by a complete stranger - Hopper's film sinks steadily into film noir cliché. Taken from Charles Williams' 1953 novel Hell Hath No Fury, it's a determinedly sleazy account of small-town corruption. When canny con-man Madox finds his affections torn between a troubled, virginal waif (Connelly) and his new employer's dangerously seductive wife (Madsen), you soon get the gist: he's headed for a fall. Robbery, adultery, blackmail and murder are on the agenda, but the pacing is so sluggish, the plotting so repetitive, and the characters so formulary that everything is imbued with an unilluminating inevitability. Ueli Steiger's camerawork conveys the overheated torpor of small-town Texas, and odd brief scenes bring a touch of fire; but for the most part the impression is of a talented man going rather lazily through the motions.