Director: David Lynch.
Screenplay: David Lynch.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Diane Ladd, Harry Dean Stanton, J.E. Freeman, Crispin Glover, Isabella Rossellini, Calvin Lockhart, Grace Zabriskie, W. Morgan Sheppard, Sherilyn Fenn, Marvin Kaplan, David Patrick Kelly, Freddie Jones, Jack Nance, John Lurie, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gregg Dandridge, Frank Collison, Scott Coffey, Tracey Walter, Sheryl Lee.
Going for a more linear approach, director David Lynch offers one of his more accessible films while still maintaining his talent for weirdness.
Based on the novel by Barry Gifford it tells the dark and twisted story of Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) and Lula Fortune (Laura Dern) as young lovers fleeing south from Lula’s vengeful mother Marietta (Diane Ladd). In a fit of rage, Marietta is determined to prevent the two from seeing each other and sets thoroughly weird and dangerous hit-man Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe) on their trail, as well as private detective Johnny Farragut (Harry Dean Stanton), while a few other dangerous pursuers join in the chase.
Lynch brings us a nightmarish road movie with homages to Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and “The Wizard of Oz”. Full of warped black humour and numerous memorable scenes with eccentric oddball characters. The standouts being, a confused Sherilyn Fenn after a road accident, wandering aimlessly while picking at the fatal wound on her head, and Crispin Glover making an excessive amount of sandwiches for his lunch, while putting cockroaches in his underpants. These are just a couple of quality Lynchian moments that only he can capture and that’s not to mention J.E. Freeman’s deliciously evil henchman Marcelles Santos, crime-lord Mr. Reindeer (W. Morgan Sheppard) and one of cinema’s most memorable villians in Bobby Peru (a fantastically creepy and unforgettable Dafoe on top form). The whole cast are, in fact, on top of their game. It’s one of Cage’s finest wacky performances and the Oscar nominated Diane Ladd is scarily and convincingly venomous. As ever though, it wouldn’t work without the genius of Lynch himself and his painting of the surreal, off-beat and depraved underbelly of America, that no-one can do quite like him.
One of Lynch’s more coherent films, it still has his usual dreamlike quality, peppered with strange outlandish characters and events and more linear than what we are used to from the brilliant transcendental director.