Wild At Heart Analysis

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David Lynch’s 1990 dramatic film Wild at Heart is as cliché and trite as its title suggests, and its provocative, stimulating visuals do not make up for its unsuccessful storyline. Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern’s performances were bleak, but still not the least effective aspects of the movie. While the critic and audience ratings were mostly favorable, according to the review site Rotten Tomatoes, its plot and production do not go beyond meaningless eroticism to excite the audience. Armond White’s review of the hyper-Americanized drama criticizes its excess of sex and violence, in addition to describing all of the ways in which it is a failed work of art. Lynch portrays Lula and Sailor’s tale of a whimsical escape into the sunset as an overused,…show more content…
Although the movie was filmed in the U.S., it is so uncharacteristic of American culture that it is almost satirical. Each scene has a way of dramatically mimicking existing depictions of life in the 90s, so that the movie feels like it has already been done before. For instance, the violent opening scene of the film shows Sailor killing the man who was sent by Lula’s mother to murder him. Within minutes, blood is splattered everywhere and the hitman is dead; Sailor lights a cigarette like the bad boy character he is trying to portray, and he dramatically points at Lula’s mother. Other than the blunt shock factor of murdering a man in front of a crowd to draw the audience in, this scene doesn’t particularly have any realistic or unique qualities. As White states in his review, “The measure of Lynch’s failing can be taken by the triviality and meaninglessness of the pop references throughout Wild at Heart. It’s a postmodern world Lula and Sailor inhabit, all right--decentered and disgustingly fake” (14). This scene, like most others in the film, lacks any realistic aspects of American culture; it relies only on an in-your-face excitement and symbols of pop culture that may grab the viewer’s attention, but ultimately falls short of being meaningful. Sailor’s Elvis-impersonating character and the wistful, over the top passion between him and Lula are not enough to symbolize American culture, as they are intended. Overall, Lynch doesn’t create an original or deep enough plot in Wild at Heart to leave the audience with a memorable understanding of the film as a

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