David Lynch: The Big Dream

Wild at Heart

David Lynch

Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, Lynch's adaptation of Barry Gifford's novel is the director's most unabashedly romantic film, a comedy-crime-horror-road movie that takes explicit cues from The Wizard of Oz. Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern are star-crossed lovers Sailor and Lula, who hit the road straight into the heartland of darkness with the minions of Lula's vengeful mother Marietta (Diane Ladd) on their trail and a maniacal gangster named Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe) looming on their horizon. Praised by some and criticized by others for its pre-Tarantino pop-culture jokiness and sometimes extreme violence, Wild at Heart is Lynch's most extroverted celebration of his "weird-on-top" homeland, finding freedom in snakeskin jackets, open-top convertibles, and sweet '50s rock 'n' roll. "Constantly flirting with a camp sensibility, Wild at Heart still manages to look on its characters with affection and concern, producing that odd combination of snarling cruelty and wide-eyed sentimentality that defines the Lynch effect…. a stunning piece of work" (Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune).

Screenings

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