WILD AT HEART || 1990, USA || Mystery || Directed by – David Lynch / Written by – David Lynch [based on the novel Wild at Heart by Barry Glifford] / Produced by – Steve Golin, Michael Kuhn, Monty Montgomery, Sigurjon Sighvatsson / Music by – Angelo Badalamenti / Cinematography – Frederick Elmes / Edited by – Duwayne Dunham / Production design – Patricia Norris / Costume design – Amy Stofsky / Starring – Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Crispin Glover, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, Harry Dean Stanton / Running time: 124 mins.
Despite winning a Palme d’Or, amidst controversy, Wild at Heart is somewhat overlooked in favour of more influential films by David Lynch. And while it may not be one of his most original works, it could arguably be considered his most romantic.
Originally, he was only meant to produce this cinematic version of the Barry Glifford novel of the same name, before he decided to direct it as well. Seemingly, he fell in love with the subject, but given the fact that there is nothing too original about it, it is more likely that he became invested in the possibilities of expanding upon it in creative ways. Proof of this is that he also changed some important moments of the film, such as its ending, trading it in for a happier one.
Wild at Heart revolves around its central couple, a story of rebellious, fun loving runaway lovers Sailor Ripley and young Lula, on the run from her domineering mother who has sent a group of gangsters after them. It is defined by a satirical undertone, conveyed by the cartoonish nature of the many colorful characters that populate it, but there is still some genuine warmth to be found in the love story shared between its two central characters.
Lynch expands on the straight forward plot by playing up its eccentricities, via costume and art direction, reminescent of older American B-movies. But there are occasional sequences that also expand on its familiar plotline and inject it with a freer sense of creativity, for example the inclusion of Elvis musical numbers performed by lead actor Nicolas Cage. – 4/5