I’m neither a film connoisseur nor a film fanatic but when I finally am in the mood for a film I insist that they’re nothing less than fantastic. They have to be visually perfect and the narrative should awesome. When I’m still in the orgasmic after-rush of a great film I end up Googling to find out what others think of it. In my latest Google session, I was terribly surprised to see that not everyone seems to worship the great Lynchian camp story, Wild at Heart! Let me quickly tell the story; first you have Sailor, with the ever-cool snakeskin leather jacket that ‘represents a symbol of his individuality, and belief in personal freedom’. Second, there’s Lula, his crazy and beautifully naive girlfriend, wearing leotards, leather bras and bright red lipstick.
This wildly in love couple embarks on a road trip to Los Angeles, fleeing Lula’s momma, who thinks Sailor knows a little too much about her history. This trip quickly turns out to be a freak-filled Lynchian hell. Heads are blown off, pretty girls are covered in blood, rape-scenes are seen, in short; this isn’t a film for sissies. I’m not the hardcore violent fan so what do I love about this story? The early maniacal happiness of Lula and Sailor’s, I answer gleefully! They’re the love-heroes of camp with their white trash accents, skimpy outfits and falsely deep conversations. Another thing I love are the delicious freaks that only David Lynch can depict. You encounter a schizophrenic, you see Mrs. Fortune descending into madness, and you come across a boot-legged woman who looks like she stepped out of a comic noir.
I’m a fan of all things camp and freakish so I was baffled to read negative reviews. People complain that this film is hard to label. With Lynch they either want a full on, surrealist freakshow or a realist film. But to be fair, the vague, uncategorised-ness is what attracts me. And honestly, do we really need to label everything? I also read a most disturbing opinion, the so-called misogyny of Lynch. This certain writer claimed that the portrayal of Mrs. Fortune, who is -lightly put- an unstable emotional mess. He (yes, he!) described it as painful to see these scenes, but isn’t it really the writer himself that has deep and unconscious spots of misogyny? Because Marietta Fortune isn’t the only one who is mentally disturbed here, it’s both men and women who are completely out of their minds. It’s odd how the writer in question only notices her misfortune. And sure, the girls are treated violently like said writer points out but this isn’t a misogynist point of view, it’s a realistic point of view that Lynch simply wishes to show. Maybe David Lynch is filming this with a vague sense of irony and protest like Cindy Sherman did with her photographs? Either how, there is nothing shown here that can truly be called anti-feminist, in my opinion.
Negative opinions set aside; this film is gorgeous in my eyes. I love the camp white trash couple, madly in love. I love the freaks, and I love the crazy violence. Then there’s also the silly and downright stupid humour at times. Lynch laughs with all stereotypes and ridicules it in the most light-hearted way, and I love it. Look at the infamous, first scene for example:
The senseless and irrational violence might get to you when you think of this seriously but the mannerist way of acting, the overdramatized moves of Cage, and the hard music ridicule violence and show us with a splash of irony just how senseless it is. Or am I the only one seeing this?
And to give you a sense of the freakishness seen in this film:
I cannot tell you more without ruining the story for you. So I’ve put up some stills to show you Lynch’s great imagery and quotes to point out the silly humour, here. Enjoy!(?)