Of all the erotic thrillers that came in the wake of Basic Instinct, Uli Edel’s Body of Evidence is arguably the silliest. Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide
A courtroom drama featuring a houseboat, a dead man, a happily married lawyer (Dafoe), and the world’s most insufferable dominatrix (Madonna), Body of Evidence takes a back seat to the two movies where the game changing pop star gives an actual performance: Dangerous Game (1993) and Desperately Seeking Susan (1985).
Lots of Portland movies are better than this one — plus there is very little of Portland in it. Madonna’s offhand reference to theconservative sexual habits of the locals provides the only laugh in the film.
Early Madonna fans: she also appeared in Vision Quest (1985), shot in Spokane.
But enough about Her. If Body of Evidence inspires you to see a thread connecting all Willem Dafoe’s film performances, from Last Temptation of Christ to Antichrist, you’re not the only one. Edith Hallberg has an essay on Senses of Cinema on exactly this topic.
From that essay:
In Dafoe’s stage and film work, the moments when he displays his naked or partially naked body tend to be especially crucial. Apart from its shock value, nudity can be interpreted as a signifier of high purity because it is devoid of any cultural attributes. There is nothing more concrete and authentic than naked flesh. The actor’s bare body represents a defiance of the “rich” theatre which is equipped with costumes and scenery, and dialogue-driven. A “poor” theatre, which relies on the body and on the gestural and vocal expressive resources of the actor, has a greater capacity to reach the audience’s senses and thereby establish the desired communion with the spectator.
I hereby claim Body of Evidence as an Oregon film, based on the location shooting in Portland.