This will hardly be one of my most eloquent posts, so don't expect much, I just felt like writing about a few films I enjoy, nothing very complex...
These films don't really share much in common except the basic theme of a young American couple on the run from their enemies, be it the police, gangsters or family. I just happen to lump these three together when thinking of this style of film, a bit like when thinking of Vietnam films one thinks of Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket.
All of them are from the 90's and are just great fun to watch, they are colourful, violent and romantic, all slightly disturbing, but hardly very challenging to watch.
(And Yes, the title of this post is a complete rip-off of one of Truffaut's "Antoine Doinel" films, I'm very much aware of that, think if it as a "homage" to that genius.)
1 Wild At Heart - 1990
|Snake Skin jacket+Nic Cage= extreme cool|
Directed by the great David Lynch, I admire his work a lot and think he is very creative although more than a little insane, but insanity and creativity are basically two sides of the same coin.
This is definitely one of his minor films, it doesn't reach the brilliance of The Elephant Man or Blue Velvet, but it is far less weird than Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and the atrociously bad Inland Empire. That being said, it is nowhere near a "normal" film, it is filled with surreal situations and characters, visions and hallucinations.
This is a film that polarized audiences, some hated it (including famed film critic Roger Ebert, but then again he was never a fan of Lynch) and others loved it, but apparently more people loved it though for it took home the prestigious Palm D'Or at Cannes, this win was one of the most controversial for quite some time.
Was it worthy of this honour?, I personally don't think so, there were many other more deserving films that year such as Dances With Wolves, Good Fellas and White Hunter, Black Heart,
It is a fun film but it has some serious flaws in it's narrative and at times just feels very crude and nasty, I think that was the aspect of the film that put many people off it, for it is filled with violence and sex and in way that brings the film down.
But despite the fact that it's often hard to watch because of Lynch's penchant for shocking images, it is still quite a romantic film, Nic Cage and Laura Dern give great performances and the script is well written variant of the Wizard of Oz.
Cage's character is probably one of the best things about the film, he is quite visibly based on Elvis, but I felt he could of been developed far more, in fact this film had many opportunities that it seemed to overlook, it wasn't quite so Wild At Heart as the title and the opening of the film might lead you to believe.
It has a fantastic soundtrack as well.
Recommended for those not easily offended.
2 True Romance - 1993
|This is by far the most misleading poster I've ever seen, those who have seen the film will agree...|
So 3 years after Wild At Heart we have another film with similar themes, but this one is far more entertaining and considerably better written, as the script was penned by none other than the genius Quentin Tarantino, sadly though he didn't direct it. That job was given to Tony Scott, brother of Ridley Scott. Now Tony Scott is mostly know for his many action films which are all slightly above average as far as action/thrillers go, but none of them are great films.
So sadly he just didn't bring that spark of genius that Tarantino would of if he had directed it (but the Tarantino presence is still felt strongly through the script) , which isn't to say that it's badly directed, quite the contrary, in fact I think this is Tony's best film.
So despite the minor let-down in the directing department this is still a wonderful film, full of witty dialogue, great performances by the two leads,Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater, who have excellent chemistry (they were a real life couple, so that surely helped), it's packed full of fantastic cameo's (Samuel Jackson, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt....) in fact this film has one of the best ensemble casts I've ever seen ,with Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Tom Sizemore, Chris Penn and many more.
I would hesitate to say this film is "action packed" but it certainly has it's fair share of gun fights and other such acts of violence, but at heart it is a Romance, in fact it's the kind of Romance young men who are more than slightly nerdy dream about, it's basically a dream come true for all film buffs or comic book nerds, for after all it was written by the king of all film buffs Tarantino, so it's full of sly references to films he loves and popular culture.
So it's one of my favourite Romances, filled with action, actors I love and a wonderful script, it's a must-see!!
I myself have lost count of how many times I've seen it.
3 Natural Born Killers - 1994
|Scary Woody Harrelson and slightly psychedelic imagery, that pretty much sums up the film.|
Oliver Stone, a director who is much disliked, mainly in the US, for his extremely Leftist politics, strong anti war stance and constant critique of the US and it's inhabitants lifestyles.
I personally think he's a great director, and greatly respect him for his Vietnam Trilogy and JFK, this film on the other hand, Natural Born Killers is easily one of the most intriguing films I've ever seen, I can't say I enjoyed it, for to enjoy this one would have to be rather sick. But many aspects of it did impress me greatly, such as Stones camera work and editing, which is wonderfully messing and disorientating, usually such terms are negative when describing a film but considering this is a film about a psychopathic couple who go on a massive murder spree then you can understand the Stone actually did a great, if totally unconventional, technical job on this film. He constantly changes between Black and White, Colour, various shades of green and red, uses very strange camera angles and distorted images, as well as fast camera movements and loads of other little tricks that make this film completely unique, for even if you didn't like this film (which many, many people didn't) you have to admit it is unique.
This film would take a very long time to dissect and fully explain so I'll just say that it's a compelling look inside a couple of psychopaths heads (which is of course a disturbing place to look), it is also a Romantic story told from the point of view of these killers who become celebrities during their brutal killing spree, thus Stone criticises modern Celebrity culture, as well as many other things including reality shows, reporters and even the Police.
Woody Harrleson is excellent as the main character, his performance in this really changed the way I thought of him as an actor, Juliet Lewis was as always terrible, the supporting cast were all very good and included Tommy Lee Jones in a brilliantly psychotic role, Robert Downey Junior in a role that seemed made for him and Tom Sizemore.
But this film is far from perfect, in fact it's an extremely flawed one, but I find that the various flaws only make this film more interesting, apart from a few such as Juliet Lewis's terrible acting (worst thing about the film), the occasional heavy-handedness of the film and the sometimes overly disturbing content.
A great satire, unorthodox directing, compelling yet disturbing characters, a very well written script based on a story by Quentin Tarantino (again!) and a strangely touching Romance all make for a very entertaining yet far from perfect film that is most definitely not for everyone.
Well, that's about it... Can you think of any films similar to the aforementioned ones? I would be interested in any suggestions, as well as your thoughts on these films...
And now I better get back to writing more serious (or rather, less lazy) and better written reviews, coming soon are reviews for the Mesrine films, Barry Lyndon and maybe Fritz Lang's expressionist masterpiece, Der Mude Tod...
Thanks For Reading!