Showgirls (1995)

Las Vegas is a town known for excesses. If it is not the excess drinking, it is the gambling, but it would be remiss to not mention the prevalence of exotic dancing joints, that propagate the surrounding areas, and the fabulously choreographed dancing, providing those who do not want to risk their savings an opportunity to enjoy some entertainment. In 1995, an intimate look at the lives of those in work in the area was depicted in Showgirls.

Elizabeth Berkley leads the show here as Nomi.

Nomi arrives in the glittering city of Las Vegas with little more than dreams of performing in the Stardust Casino, unfortunately, her suitcase is stolen and now she has nothing. But is taken in by Molly, a seamstress at the Casino, and the two become friends. She starts out dancing at the Cheetah’s Topless Club. As we follow Nomi trying to get her big break, dealing with some of the more seedy and unsavoury elements, and battling with Cristal the leading performer at the Stardust. It is going to take all of Nomi’s effort to make it and fulfil her dream. However, will the grip of vice form a stranglehold on Nomi and swallow her whole?

Gina Gershon’s Cristal makes for an intriguing rival for Nomi.

The plot is not the main selling point of Showgirls, as the widely held reputation of its depictions of skin and carnality made it infamous to the public. On reflection, this is a shame, as the film has a lot to offer besides that. The rivalry between Nomi and Cristal is an appealing draw and seeing Gershon and Berkley playing off each other is thoroughly entertaining. These schemes also involve Zack, played by Kyle MacLachlan. A role that seems at odds whit his then-recent portrayal of Dale Cooper. Zach is a sleazy Casino exec as well as Cristal’s boyfriend. However, if Nomi gets her way he could end up a pawn in her rise to the top. Though there is more going on outside the quasi-love-triangle rivalry between Noni, Zack, and Cristal. The subplot between Nomi and bouncer, James he recognises her potential or so it first appears. This is a running theme throughout Showgirls, as ulterior motives are all too common in Vegas.

I did also like the friendship between Nomi and Molly.

Though for an erotic thriller there is still a lot of steamy scenes, this was still during the period of the early to mid-90s when the genre was king. Showgirls makes a good attempt to reflect the reality of the dancers. Interviewing with real performers and including some of the more recognisable locals of Vegas are shown here. Such as the Stardust Casino and the topless club that Nomi starts from is apparently a real place. There is some imagination as the film has invented some vivid routines, that bares some verisimilitude to the fabulously vivid stage productions that the Stardust is also known for.

Kyle MacLachlan is far from Dale Cooper here!

Showgirls goes in no holds barred in its depiction of lives lost and soon to be found in Las Vegas. Its steamy interplay will appeal to couples and those who live for drama in its extremes. It is not going to be for everybody, but if you can stomach other erotic thrillers of the era, you should be able to enjoy this. Regardless of why you take this trip to Vegas, you are going to get a dazzling experience.

Dazzling choreography and relationships too!

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