David Lynch’s grotesque and wild romantic crime drama won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1990 quite surprisingly. Interestingly, Lynch and the crew finished the film just a day before the premiere in Cannes where, after a screening in front of 2,400 people, “Wild at Heart” earned thunderous applause. But just a few days later, when the president of the jury that year, the great Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci, declared the winner, the situation was completely reversed. The whistles overwhelmed the applause, and film critics mostly buried Lynch’s film. Today, “Wild at Heart” has a cult status and is one of the iconic films of the famous American Surrealist and a film that is somewhat logical sequence of the previous “Blue Velvet”.
Lynch came across Barry Gifford’s unfinished manuscript “Wild at Heart: The Story of Sailor and Lula” while working on “Twin Peaks”. Although at first he only intended to produce the film, in the end Lynch himself wrote and directed the film we know today as “Wild at Heart”, a film that is a complete inversion of classic Hollywood and could be described as a bizarre and trashy Lynch parody of the classics as which is, say, “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s a film that certainly wouldn’t have worked if it had been made by anyone other than Lynch. It’s a real Freak Show in which Lynch seems to be trying to parody classics such as “Sunset Blvd” (which later served as the inspiration for his “Mullholand Drive”) in his own unique way.)while the two main characters are actually a parody of the two greatest American icons – Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.
Young lovers Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) and Lula (Laura Dern) will be separated after Sailor ends up in jail for murder in excess of necessary self-defense. He was attacked by a man hired by Lula’s mother, Marietta Fortune (Diane Ladd who is in fact Laura Dern’s mother), a grotesque lunatic who wants to prevent her daughter’s relationship with a bastard like Sailor at all costs. But after a few years, when he is released from prison, Sailor will immediately pick up Lulu and they will travel west, through New Orleans to Texas, where this guy who is obsessed with Elvis Presley and looks like him, will get into trouble again. . During that time, Marietta will send not one, but two hitmen, Sailor, Johnny Farragut (Harry Dean Stanton) and Marcellus Santos (JE Freeman).
Clearly, through Lula and Sailor, they will meet various grotesque types, weirdos that can only arise in Lynch’s brain, such as slimy criminal Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe) or Sailor’s old friend Perdita Durango (Isabella Rossellini). Probably “Wild at Heart” is something closest to the romance Lynch has ever recorded, and he seems to have made a special effort to make practically all the characters here seem as repulsive, grotesque, unnatural as possible. There is nothing normal in the behavior of any of the characters and nothing that happens here is even close to normal. One crazy and twisted scene only changes the previous one, and the acting is intentionally overemphasized as a real caricature of acting from the films of the 1930s and 1940s, while the dialogues are either incredibly banal or completely meaningless.
But still it all works again and again “Wild at Heart” is a true masterpiece, a wild film that can also be seen as the complete antipode of a precise, perfectly constructed neo-noir like “Blue Velvet”. Just like Quentin Tarantino ten years later, when he realized he could do whatever he wanted and when producers appeared who allowed him complete authorial freedom, so Lynch entered such a phase with “Wild at Heart”. So this film is clear proof that Lynch can do whatever he wants and can play and relax to the end, and yet what he shoots will be unsurpassed for the vast majority of his colleagues. Today, when he practically doesn’t shoot anything anymore and when he is already in his serious years, Lynch can be said to be one of the greatest visionaries of American film in the last forty years. An author who has influenced generations of other filmmakers with his work, many of whom have tried to copy him, but Lynch is a director who is simply impossible to copy. He is one of the most authentic filmmakers of all time, a man who can shoot in aesthetic terms a complete trash like “Wild at Heart”, and yet this grotesque, kitschy film in which everything is completely twisted and twisted, gets the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Rating 10/10.
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