Saturday, July 21, 2012

Something Wild

Something Wild; comedy / drama / crime, USA, 1986; D: Jonathan Demme, S: Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, Ray Liotta, Jack Gilpin, Margaret Colin, Charles Napier

New York. Financial employee Charlie has a normal, but boring and unexciting life. Out of a kick, he decides not to pay his bill for a lunch, which catches the attention of a wild girl, Audrey, who drives him away to a motel where they get intimate. Driving further away to Virginia, she introduces him as her husband and goes to her high school reunion. Unfortunately, there she meets her criminal husband again, Ray, who takes her away. Charlies saves her, but Ray follows them to his home. In a clash, Charlie kills Ray. Some time later, he meets Audrey again.

"Something Wild" is a secret anthem to all the 'closeted rebels', a king among the films about a shy male protagonist encountering a wild girl who "steals" him away from his boring existence and stirs his routine up by bringing him to a wild adventure, showing him what he missed so far. Starting as a comedy, then switching to a romance, erotic episode, road movie, drama, crime and finally a thriller, this is indeed a wild ride - the transition from one mood to another is uneven, but Charlie and Audrey (excellent chemistry between Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith) are indeed one of the greatest couples that graced the screens of the 80s and complete each other perfectly: he needs someone who will bring 'spice' into his life, while she needs someone who will stabilize her. The legendary erotic sequence where Audrey handcuffs Charlie to bed and lets him talk over the phone to his boss while she has sex with him is already a cult classic about losing timidness, numerous cameos are a quiet delight (including John Sayles and John Waters) whereas Demme handles this mainstream idea almost as a relaxed art-film, but a big setback is the annoying character of Ray who is a 'third wheel' in the film - his crime "addition" takes up too much time from the story and wrecks it, not allowing it to return to its routes until the end. This is one of the rare films that decided to tour its two characters through every possible genre - except SF and fantasy - yet they are somehow so real and so unique that it seems as if their personalities are larger than any genre, which is why the viewers care about them even if they would suddenly find themselves on another planet.


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