Directed and Written by David Lynch
Not to be fanboy about this; believe me I often find his films to be as frustrating as everyone else does, but I think the key to penetrating the Lynch oeuvre without smashing your playback device is to commit yourself to the understanding that he just doesn’t give a whit about the elements that are supposed tether us emotionally and analytically to films; stuff like narrative threads, plot structure, character development, normal human behavior… All he seems to care about is the feel that emanates from whatever is happening, like standing up in a rowboat, its those brief discomforting surges that drive his movies. He filmed Wild at Heart concurrently with Twin Peaks and if you’ve seen the latter you will recognize the absurd degrees to which this film’s characters and elements are stylized. Thematically though this movie functions a lot more like an oily, insidious remake of The Coens’ Raising Arizona, which had been released only a few years prior, and when considered together raise some questions about what the hell went on in the late 1980s that being pursued by evil and its not entirely your own fault was one of the more resonant cinematic themes of the era.
Nicolas Cage’s Sailor (just like Nicolas Cage‘s Hi) is some kind of vaguely southern everyman trying to escape both his past and his nature. He might just be what your average Florida Man sees in the mirror when he’s getting dressed in the morning; snakeskin jacket, an oblique and musical way of speaking, a clear-eyed moral vision and a perfectly logical reason to be smuggling an alligator out of a Walmart or stealing his toddler’s identity or trying to sell his neighbor’s mailbox to a picture of a cop on a billboard. Viewed holistically Wild at Heart is a horror film that murdered a road movie and then went around wearing the dead road movie’s sagging, bloody skin while introducing itself to people alternately as a romance and a black comedy. There are extreme levels of absolutely terrifying makeup, fashion and syntactic choices and also what in the halcyon days of 1990 was considered to be quite a bit of gore. And as memorable performances go, most people you interview will happily and wrongly tell you who is definitely The Most Evil character in film history, but no reasonable person would deny Willem Defoe’s Bobby Peru the honor of The Sleaziest. Bobby would indeed be honored too.
Remember that as with any Lynch movie, the narrative is only going to make sense if you’re slightly distracted or you go to the bathroom periodically, so prepare appropriately.
|It's Lynch’s fault you’re cringing||5|
|It's your fault you’re cringing||5|