Friday, December 12, 2008

Review: "Wild At Heart"

"Wild at Heart", written for the screen and directed by David Lynch, is the middle chapter in what I feel is a thematic trilogy that begins with "Blue Velvet" (1986), and ends with "Lost Highway" (1997), both also by Lynch. They do not share the same characters or anything literal like that, but all three have the same feel, and not just because they are made by the same director. Out of all of Lynch's work, these films just seem to fit together nicely.
"Wild at Heart" stars the incomparable Laura Dern as Lula, a passionate, rebellious young woman who, despite fiery protestation from her mother (pushed over the top by Diane Ladd), sets off across the southern United States with her recently paroled boyfriend named Sailor (Nicholas Cage, playing a cross between Elvis Presley and Brad Pitt's character from "Kalifornia" ), in search of... something, it's never really made clear. Perhaps their goal is to fornicate in every state. What ever it is their up to, Lula's mother gets in touch with a former lover who might be a mob boss, and they send some goons down Texas way to shoot Sailor in the brain. In fact, the reason sailor was in prison was for killing a previous hit man that Lula's mother had sent after him. 
So Lula and Sailor make their way from the Carolinas to New Orleans to San Antonio, screwing in every hotel along the way and stopping on desolate stretches of highway to loudly declare their love for each other. And this is essentially what fills up most of the film's running time. This and a tiresome multitude of extreme close ups of cigarettes being lit. The action does pick up a bit at the end, and its good. This film is actually excellent when things are happening. The brutal, bloody fight right at the beginning, and the heist at the end (initiated by a deranged-and-loving-it Willem Dafoe) are great, but in between is just a bunch of fucking and fake southern accents. 
"Wild at Heart" is really only for diehard Lynch enthusiasts, or anyone who's wanted to see what would happen if you took Elvis, "Natural Born Killers", and the freakin' Wizard of Oz, mixed them together in David Lynch's head, and then poured the resulting concoction onto a movie screen. 

No comments: