Last Dance (1996 film)
|Directed by||Bruce Beresford|
|Produced by||Steven Haft|
|Written by||Steven Haft|
|Music by||Mark Isham|
|Edited by||John Bloom|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Box office||$5,939,449 (USA sub-total)|
This article needs an improved plot summary. (August 2015)
Cindy Liggett (Sharon Stone) is waiting on death row for a brutal double murder she committed in her teens, 12 years earlier. Clemency lawyer Rick Hayes (Rob Morrow) tries to save her, based on the argument that she was under the influence of crack cocaine when she committed the crime of which she was found guilty and that she is no longer the same person she had been at the time of the murder. However her death sentence is carried out.
- Rob Morrow as Rick Hayes
- Sharon Stone as Cindy Ligget
- Randy Quaid as Sam Burns
- Peter Gallagher as John Hayes
- Jack Thompson as The Governor
- Jayne Brook as Jill
- Pamala Tyson as Linda, Legal Aid Attorney
- Skeet Ulrich as Billy Ligget
- Don Harvey as Doug
- Diane Sellers as Inmate Reggie
- Patricia French as Guard Frances
- Ralph Wilcox as Warden Rice
- Buck Ford as D.A. Rusk
- Dave Hager as Detective Vollo
- Christine Cattell as Louise
- Peg Allen as Helen
- Meg Tilly as stripper
Last Dance was filmed in Nashville.
The film was largely ignored at the box office, and suffered in comparison to the 1995 film Dead Man Walking, which was an Academy Award-winning drama whose treatment of the death penalty theme was still fresh in the minds of audiences. Sharon Stone was nominated for a Razzie Award in 1997 for "Worst New Star" based on her role in the film (as the new "serious" Sharon Stone).
Last Dance received negative reviews from critics. It currently holds a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 22 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. Sharon Stone was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst New Star (as the new serious Sharon Stone) for this film and Diabolique, where she lost to Pamela Anderson for Barb Wire.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times felt the film handled "potentially powerful material thoughtfully" and made a "good showcase for Stone". However, he pointed out that the film suffered from the "inescapable misfortune" of being following too soon after the "unquestioned masterpiece" of Dead Man Walking. In comparison, Ebert felt Last Dance "comes across as earnest but unoriginal". James Berardinelli of ReelViews also felt Dead Man Walking was "far superior". He felt Last Dance was a "less compelling tale" and "a little too safe", with "a little too much manipulation and melodrama". He praised Stone as giving the "most impressive performance of a rather lackluster career", but criticized Morrow as "leav[ing] something to be desired". He concluded that Last Dance is "perfectly watchable, and even worth a marginal recommendation, [but] in comparison to Dead Man Walking, it feels diluted."
Janet Maslin of the New York Times praised Stone's "stellar presence and surprisingly intense performance" in the film, describing her "dead-end role" as the film's "lifesaver". However, she was critical of the overall film, stating: "...soon the story begins taking sentimental turns, and even Ms. Stone's startling ferocity gets buried in sludge." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone was unfavorable of the film and concluded: "Last Dance is a prison melodrama that embraces all the cliches that Dead Man Walking artfully dodged. Last Dance acts tough, but its heart is pure soap opera." Desson Howe of The Washington Post was also critical of the film, suggesting that the film "isn't quite "Dumb Blonde Walking", but that satirical slur isn't so far off the mark". He described the film as "formulaic" with a "strangely distancing" emotional effect.
Barbara Shulgasser of the San Francisco Chronicle described the film as "simplistic, puerile rubbish", adding that Stone needed to "start picking difficult material if she really wants to become an actress". Edward Guthmann of the same newspaper felt the film had "able" direction and acting, but that Dead Man Walking was "far superior". He praised Stone's performance, but added: "The moments when Last Dance doesn't gloss over Stone's character are the best, and they make you wish the movie had been restructured." He described the film as an "earnest, unremarkable addition to the Hollywood canon of prison movies". Anne Billson of the UK newspaper The Telegraph felt Stone "emerges from this enterprise with a certain amount of dignity", unlike Morrow who is given "a wilfully unsympathetic role". She described the film as providing the "usual compendium of clichés".
- "Last Dance (1996) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "Last Dance (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
- Emerson, Jim. "Last Dance Movie Review & Film Summary (1996)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "Review: Last Dance". Reelviews.net. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "Last Dance". Nytimes.com. 1996-05-03. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- Peter Travers (1996-05-03). "Last Dance | Movie Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "'Last Dance' (R)". Washingtonpost.com. 1996-05-03. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- Barbara Shulgasser, EXAMINER MOVIE CRITIC (1996-05-03). "Stone loses a step in "Last Dance'". SFGate. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "`Last Dance' Trips Over Wasted Chance / Death Row drama misplays Sharon Stone's role". SFGate. 1996-05-03. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- Culture. "Dead woman outstaying her welcome". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-05-01.