David Lynch’s Wild at Heart polarized audiences when it arrived on the scene in 1990. Roger Ebert was absolutely repulsed by it, and when it won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival that year, there were as many people booing the film as there were people applauding. Years later, Wild at Heart has been reevaluated by many of its former detractors, who now call it one of Lynch’s greatest achievements.
Wild at Heart tells the tale of star-crossed lovers, Sailor and Lula. Sailor has recently been released from prison, where he served a few years for the murder of a hit man. Lula’s mother is hell-bent on seeing Sailor’s demise, and is terrified that the man has taken a liking to her beautiful daughter – so she sets out to have him killed. Sailor and Lula hit the road on a brutally violent and sexually charged adventure, where they will encounter many colorful characters. Nicolas Cage puts his all into the role of Sailor, displaying that manic energy that we’ve all come to appreciate from the actor. Laura Dern is unforgettably sexy as Lula, acting alongside her real life mother, Diane Ladd (in an Oscar nominated role) as her screen mother, the twisted Marietta. Supporting roles are filled by Isabella Rosellini, Harry Dean Stanton, Crispin Glover, and Willem Dafoe, who are all memorable. Within the story, there are dreamlike parallels to “The Wizard of Oz”, all of which add to the unrelentingly surreal nature of the film. Wild at Heart is a modern classic.
The good folks at Twilight Time have given us a limited edition Blu-ray of the film, and it has never looked or sounded better. It is a definite improvement from the MGM DVD, and should be sought out by fans of Lynch. There are several special features, including two making of documentaries, interviews, trailers, TV spots, and an isolated score track.