Although I have no facts to support my impression, this erotic courtroom thriller looks as if it grew out of Madonna seeing Basic Instinct
and saying, “I wanna do one of those.” Unfortunately, whatever the limitations of the earlier film, you can't really do one of those without narrative punch and sweep, which director Uli Edel (Last Exit to Brooklyn
) doesn't manage to muster. While he may be marginally better at directing kinky sex scenes than Instinct
's Paul Verhoeven, he's stuck with a fairly ho-hum script by Brad Mirman—millionaire dies of heart failure after sex with his dominatrix girlfriend, who's charged with murder after inheriting most of his fortune—as well as a performance by Madonna herself that tends to be awkward and unactorly whenever she has to deliver more than a couple of lines at a time. One's attention is held but not exactly galvanized, even with the combined efforts of Willem Dafoe (the dominatrix's defense lawyer), Joe Mantegna (the DA), Lillian Lehman (a black woman judge), Anne Archer, and Julianne Moore, not to mention Jurgen Prochnow and Frank Langella in smaller and slimier parts.