Director: David Lynch
Writer: David Lynch
Time: 124 min.
Genre: Drama / Romance
Oh man, that’s one goddamn weird film! Well, it’s from David Lynch, so I guess it ain’t all that surprising. Lynch is that deranged filmmaker behind “Eraserhead”, “Blue Velvet”, “Lost Highway” and the “Twin Peaks” series. Believe me, the guy has a unique style! His work is filled with strange imagery, unusual characters, sexual tension and excessive violence. This film, winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme D’Or, ain’t his best or his weirdest, but it sure is an unforgettable experience.
What really got me was the brilliant performance from Nicolas Cage. He’s reputed for playing freaks, and this is one of the few films he starred in that’s as wild as he is. His character is named Sailor Ripley, but basically, Cage is playing none other than Elvis Presley. Yes, Sailor is a sensually smooth individual fond on rock’n’roll and attitude. He never goes anywhere without his beloved snakeskin jacket and his pack of Marlboros. Cage’s performance is just great. He’s so cool in this film. I love the way he impersonates the King, delivering hid lines in a drooling Southern accent. Sailor’s a good guy, but he has a darker side. Hence, he kills a man in a burst of rage and is thrown to jail. The worst thing for him is being separated from his lover, Lula, who’s also very well played by another always interesting performer, Laura Dern. Lula has some-thing really sad about her, like she might be happy, but she’s still always deranged. It’s probably thanks to the horrible life she had, with the suspicious suicide of her father and being a rape victim. And that’s not mentioning her mother, a total basket case. She’s totally opposed to her daughter’s union to Sailor, for reasons of her own. She’s so determined that she sends her two lovers to kill Sailor. There’s Santos, a brutal mobster with many weirdoes at his service, and Johnnie, a gentle would-be detective. Sailor and Lula have to always be on the run, and they do. From Cape Fear to New Orleans, and then to Big Tuna, Texas, they hit the road. They meet with a lot of unusual people, but one of them tops them all, Bobby Peru, creepily played by Willem Dafoe.
As you can see, this is one messed-up flick, and I’ve just scratched the surface. A bunch of things wander eerily around the film: images of fire, shades of red and yellow, not always clear memories… There’s also a whole subplot built around “The Wizard of Oz”, as the couple’s journey follows loosely Dorothy’s. Personally, I was mesmerized by the film, even though some stuff puzzled me. I loved Lynch’s strong visuals: many moments in the film are outstanding. Some of my favorite scenes are the parts showing Cage and Dern driving through the desert and talking about nothing and everything. Another real cool thing in the film is the soundtrack. It really fits the film, from the brutal metal riffs to the jazzy notes of Angelo Badalamenti’s score. And of course, we hear a few Elvis songs (some sung by Cage himself!) and Chris Isaac’s smash hit Wicked Game, which echoes perfectly the feel of the movie. “Wild at Heart” is the kind of film that’s always surprising you. Lynch takes you in unexpected places, and it’s one hell of a ride! I highly recommend this film and the rest of Lynch’s films to anyone who’s tired of mainstream productions and is up to be shaken up. It’s not as well balanced as “Blue Velvet” or “Lost Highway”, but it’s still a blast.