Wild at Heart (1990)

Thirty-three years ago today the film Wild at Heart premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. This David Lynch movie has every alt actor of the 80s and 90s that I adore. It is also has Chris Isaak’s song “Wicked Game” in the soundtrack. I loved this movie when it came out, I even had the advertisement glued to one of my journals. You should see this movie.

Title: Wild at Heart
Directed by: David Lynch
Produced by: Steve Golin, Monty Montgomery, Sigurjón Sighvatsson
Screenplay by: David Lynch
Based on: Wild at Heart by Barry Gifford
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Crispin Glover, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, Grace Zabriskie, Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl Lee, and Harry Dean Stanton
Music by: Angelo Badalamenti
Cinematography: Frederick Elmes
Edited by: Duwayne Dunham
Production Companies: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Propaganda Films
Distributed by: The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date: May 25, 1990
Running time: 124 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $10 million
Box office: $14.6 million in North America
Palme d’Or Cannes Film Festival

Lovers Lula and Sailor are separated after he is jailed for killing a man who attacked him with a knife; the assailant, Bobby Ray Lemon, was hired by Lula’s mother, Marietta Fortune. Upon Sailor’s release, Lula picks him up outside prison, where she hands him his snakeskin jacket. They go to a hotel where she reserved a room, make love and go to see the speed metal band Powermad. At the club, Sailor gets into a fight with a man who flirts with Lula, and then leads the band in a rendition of the Elvis Presley song “Love Me”. Later, back in their hotel room, after making love again, Sailor and Lula finally decide to run away to California, breaking Sailor’s parole. Marietta arranges for private detective Johnnie Farragut — her on-off boyfriend — to find them and bring them back. But unbeknownst to Farragut, Marietta also hires gangster Marcello Santos to track them and kill Sailor. Santos’s minions capture and kill Farragut, sending Marietta into a guilt-fueled psychosis.

Unaware of all of the events happening back in North Carolina, Lula and Sailor continue on their way until — according to Lula — they witness a bad omen: the aftermath of a two-car accident, and the only survivor, a young woman, dying in front of them. With little money left, Sailor heads for Big Tuna, Texas, where he contacts ‘old friend’ Perdita Durango, who might be able to help them, although she secretly knows Lula’s mother has a contract out for his murder. While Sailor agrees to join up with gangster Bobby Peru in a feed store robbery, Lula waits for him in the hotel room, trying to conceal that she is pregnant with Sailor’s child. While Sailor is out, Peru enters the room and threatens to sexually assault Lula, forcing her to ask him to have sex with her, before leaving, stating he has no time. This traumatizes Lula, who was raped as a child.

The robbery goes spectacularly wrong when Peru unnecessarily shoots the two clerks. Peru then admits to Sailor that he has been hired to kill him, and Sailor realizes he has been given a pistol with dummy ammunition. Chasing Sailor out of the store, Peru is about to kill him when the sheriff’s deputy opens fire on him and Peru accidentally blows his own head off with his own shotgun. Sailor is arrested and sentenced to six years in prison.

While Sailor is in jail, Lula has their child. Upon his release, Lula decides to reunite with him. Rejecting her mother’s objections over the phone, she throws water over her mother’s photograph and goes to pick up Sailor with their son. When they meet Sailor, he reveals he will be leaving them both, having decided whilst in prison that he is not good enough for them. While he is walking a short distance away, Sailor encounters a gang who surround him. He insults them, and they quickly knock him out. While unconscious, he sees a vision in the form of Glinda the Good Witch, who tells him, ‘Don’t turn away from love, Sailor.’ When he awakens, Sailor apologizes to the men, tells them he realizes the error of his ways, and then runs after Lula. The photograph of Marietta, in Lula’s house, sizzles and vanishes. As there is a traffic jam on the road, Sailor begins to run over the roofs and hoods of the cars to get back to Lula and their child in the car. Sailor sings “Love Me Tender” to Lula, having earlier said that he would only sing that song to his wife.

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