Our David Lynch: Surreal Marvel series continues with a white hot director’s cut screening of Wild at Heart.
Wild at Heart review by Trylon volunteer Caty Rent.
Blazing fire, crutches/canes, car accidents, lit cigarettes, rape, lipstick fetish, boobies, and several passionate sex scenes between star-crossed lovers are just a few flavors in this tasty layer cake of Lynchian decadence.
Enter Sailor Ripley, (Nicolas Cage) a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks who didn’t have much parental guidance. With his Elvis Presley swagger and snakeskin jacket he was able to woo his “Peanut,” young Lula Fortune (Laura Dern.) Lula is a gum chewing, skinny blonde with breasts that stick out and say hello. She’s got a deep love for Sailor and will do anything to be with him.
Unfortunately, Lula’s mother, Marietta Fortune (Diane Ladd,) doesn’t approve of the match and does her Wicked Witch trickery to manipulate men to do her bidding. Marietta is also bitter because Sailor turned down her offer to fuck in a men’s bathroom. She told him he wasn’t worth S-H-I-tut and that she was going to send someone to kill him. Pretty soon after the encounter, Bob Ray Lemon (Gregg Dandridge) attacked Sailor with a knife. Sailor brutally killed Bob Ray with his bare hands and was sentenced to 22 months in prison.
When Sailor is released, Lula picks him up and they spend the night together in Cape Fear. When they are out dancing at a club, some punk is trying to dance with Lula. Sailor stops the band, beats up the guy, and charms the whole crowd with his rendition of the Elvis tune, “Love Me.” Cut to bedroom scene where Lula asks Sailor why he didn’t sing her “Love Me Tender.” Sailor calmly answers matter-of-factly that he will only sing that song when he has a wife.
The next day the couple decide that it’s time to flee Cape Fear. Marietta finds out and convinces Johnnie Farragut (Harry Dean Stanton) to head to New Orleans to catch the pair in the Big Easy.
Johnnie is a detective and a good guy that was roped into this situation by the conniving Witch. While Johnnie is traveling, Marietta also introduces Marcelles Santos (J.E. Freeman) to the mix. Santos appears to be some smooth criminal from the top of the chain. He’s got charisma, and he wants Marietta all to himself. He says he can take care of Sailor, but only if Johnnie gets it too. Marietta agrees and Santos contacts Mr. Reindeer (William Morgan Shepard).
Here’s where Eau de Lynch really starts to reek and things become much more confusing. This entire film is so raw and feels more like multiple films squashed together; where certain characters know information about other characters and it all ties together in an oddball fashion.
Mr. Reindeer sends out two silver dollars as a symbol to his assassins that there are hits out on Sailor and Johnnie. Two duos of killers are charged with one hit each. The first set of Juana (Grace Zabriske) and Reggie (Calvin Lockhart) aren’t on the screen for too long. They are quite successful at kidnapping Johnnie Farragut and torturing him, finally allowing him to see the ring of Santos before he is to die.
The second set are in Big Tuna, Texas. Perdita (Isabella Rossalini) and Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe) have the hit for Sailor. Without a doubt, Bobby Peru is one of the most memorable villains of this picture. He is an ex-Marine who is able to walk the uncomfortable line of being way too intense and still smiling grotesquely about it. He is an utter and complete pervert, yet captivating.
Wild At Heart is one of the better films for someone first getting into Lynch as a director. It has a dreamy, musical quality to it, but doesn’t skimp out on the dark humor or quick awkward moments. Like the short part about Lula’s cousin, Dale (Crispin Glover,) or the moment after one of the car accidents where a random guy comes up to the victim and says, “The same fucking thing happened to me last year, man. Shit.”
What I personally enjoy most about it though is how tender Sailor and Lula are with each other. They have this beautiful purity that shines through the constructed twisted nightmare of a world.
Caty Rent pretty much lives coffee and is obsessed with the Batman.
Wild at Heart screens Friday and Saturday at 7:00 & 9:30 and Sunday at 5:00 and 7:30. Purchase tickets here.