Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Wild at Heart
Wild at Heart; Romantic thriller-drama, USA, 1990; D: David Lynch, S: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, J.E. Freeman, Harry Dean Stanton, Willem Dafoe, Crispin Glover, Isabella Rossellini
Ex-convict Sailor Ripley, who is on parole after murder, has a passionate love relationship with Lulu. While the couple is driving in a car through America, Lulu's angry mother Marietta hires criminal Santos to kill Sailor, but he kills her husband. In a desert town, due to money shortages, psychopath Bobby persuades Sailor to assist him in a robbery, but the everything ends in a disaster and the police shows up. Bobby dies while Sailor lands in jail for 6 years. When he finally gets released, he returns to Lulu who in the meantime gave birth to a son.
David Lynch won the Golden Palm at Cannes for the radical love thriller farce "Wild at Heart" after he lost the award for his hyped "Blue Velvet", which caused quite a controversy at that festival. It's difficult to say if that is justified, because the film has both flaws and virtues. By that time, Lynch already drifted far away into the surreal-esoteric, and thus "Wild at Heart" is filled with bizarre, most notably with numerous references to "The Wizard of Oz": in one scene, for instance, Lulu says that her thoughts are often interrupted by a witch flying on a broom, and then the latter is really shown on the screen! In another reference, after Lulu was molested by Bobby, she clicks the heels of her shoes and wishes to be "over the rainbow". Except for that charming weirdness, there are a lot of simply hermetic ones, mostly in black humor manifested through twisted characters: while the couple is at a bar, an old man shows up, releasing some sort of a strange sound towards the singers and then says in high-pitch voice (as if he inhaled helium): "Pigeons are spreading diseases and polluting the city". While Lynch is busy with the "romance" between Sailor and Lulu, everything is fine, but when he crosses into crime and violence, he becomes chaotic and sometimes even irritating. For instance, criminal Santos is hired to kills Sailor, but since the two of them never meet anyway, it is not clear what his purpose was in the story. But the finale is pure genius, maybe because it again references "Oz": after he has been beaten up by hooligans, a good witch in pink (!) shows up to Sailor and tells him he must return to his beloved Lulu.