EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|WILD AT HEART
(director/writer: David Lynch; screenwriter: from the
novel by Barry Gifford; cinematographer: Frederick Elmes;
editor: Duwayne Dunham; music: Angelo
Badalamenti; cast: Nicolas Cage
(Sailor Ripley), Laura Dern (Lula Pace Fortune), Diane Ladd (Marietta Fortune), Willem Dafoe (Bobby Peru), Harry Dean Stanton (Johnnie Farragut), Isabella Rossellini (Perdita Durango), W. Morgan Sheppard (Mr. Reindeer), Crispin Glover ("Jingle" Dell), Gregg Dandridge (Boy Ray Lemon), Grace Zabriskie (Juana), J. E. Freeman (Marcello Santos), Marvin Kaplan (Uncle Pooch), Freddie Jones (George Kovich), David Patrick Kelly (Dropshadow), Sherilyn Fenn (Julie Day), Jack Nance (Bozie Spool), John Lurie (Sparky); Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Steve Golin/Monty Montgomery/ Joni Sighvatsson; MGM; 1990)
be perceived as a wicked comedy."
by Dennis Schwartz
perverse and over-the top violent road movie, which
features multiple double-crosses and should be
perceived as a wicked comedy, was the winner of the
Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990.
Director David Lynch ("Eraserhead"/"Blue Velvet"/"The
Elephant Man") seduces us with his bumpy car ride
across the heart of the dark Southern American pop
culture scene. It's based on the novel by
opens with Elvis-imitator Sailor Ripley (Nicolas
Cage) confronted by a black guy with a knife (Gregg
Dandridge) in a dance hall in Cape Fear, an
island located between North and South Carolina, who
threatens to kill him on orders from his girlfriend's
deranged mom, but instead Sailor brutally kills the
attacker by slamming his head against the wall and
receives a 2-year jail sentence for manslaughter.
After serving his sentence, Sailor returns to court
his now 20-year-old screwed-up girlfriend Lula
Pace Fortune (Laura Dern), who was
sexually abused as a child by her family's business
associate (Marvin Kaplan).
witch-like mom Marietta Fortune (Diane
Ladd, Dern's real mom) disapproves of the romance, and
Sailor decides to break parole and go with Lula by car
to start over in California. The
rich widow Marietta, overly possessive of
her daughter and suffering from insane
temper tantrums, gets her current boyfriend
Dean Stanton) to see if he
can bring her daughter back from New
Orleans, where she was spotted. While Johnny
is gone Marietta starts fearing that when
Sailor worked as a driver for the gangster Marcello
E. Freeman), Marietta's then
lover, he witnessed her hubby doused with kerosene
and fatally set afire by Marcello, and decides she
wants the boy out of the way so that these dark
family secrets will not be revealed. Marietta
thereby hires Marcello to kill Sailor, and he
hires a New Orleans bordello-dwelling perverse hit
man, Mr. Reindeer (W.
Morgan Sheppard), to carry
out the killing of both Johnny and Sailor. The
jealous Marcello insists, despite Marietta's
objections, that Johnny is to be slaughtered if
he's to kill Sailor. In a brutal ritual-like
killing at a car crash site, Johnny is disposed
of. Meanwhile the suspicious couple, anticipating
there's a hit contract out for them, flee to Big
Tuna, Texas, and stay at a run-down motel with the
crazed hit man, whose teeth are rotting and who
sports a creepy pencil-thin mustache and a
menacing tone, the
ex-marine Bobby Peru (Willem
Dafoe). The couple don't realize
he's there to knock off Sailor, as the
over-confident Bobby talks the broke Sailor into
robbing a bank with him in the next town and uses
his untrustworthy girlfriend (Isabella
Rossellini) to drive the
getaway car. She worked for Marcello when Sailor
was his driver.
the robbery is botched and Bobby is killed by the
police and Sailor is arrested. Discharged after
doing a five-year stretch, it ends on a happy
romantic note with Sailor singing "Love Me Tender"
and finding redemption by reuniting with Lula and
meeting for the first time his five-year-old son.
The innocent-like Sailor, deemed a Wizard of Oz character, walking down "The Yellow Brick Road" travels in his Elvis-like snakeskin jacket, which he tells us with a straight face is "a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom." The free-spirited sex bunny couple, given to either fucking or wildly dancing at a moment's notice, and the assortment of colorful eccentrics throughout the film, who are tossed into the pic to give it a bizarre appeal--one that exploits violence, sleaze and kookiness to gain favor with the public.
REVIEWED ON 2/8/2013 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ