Saturday, July 19, 2014

Something Wild

Movie Name: Something Wild
Year of Release: 1986
Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels, Ray Liotta, Tracey Walter, Charles Napier, Margaret Colin, John Sayles, John Waters
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

When "Something Wild" came along in 1986, celebrated director Jonathan Demme, hadn't established himself as a directorial talent to be considered. His previous efforts, namely "The Last Embrace", "Melvin and Howard" and "Swing Shift", didn't really convey his sensibilities and artistic ambition. "Something Wild" was the first feature that really had his trademark, a style that was simultaneously comedic, edgy and real. The film follows the story of Charles Driggs, a regular bank employee, whose biggest quirk is walking out of restaurants without paying his bill. In one of these occasions, he meets the beautiful Lulu, who calls him out on his scheme, and who volunteers to drive him back to his office. This apparent and seemingly innocent act, takes Charley and Lulu (whose actual name is Audrey) on an adventure that becomes increasingly more dangerous.
Jonathan Demme really came into his own style with "Something Wild". The film featured a wonderful mix of comedy with a darker twist, that showcased his talent to allow characters to be multidimensional, and not just archetypes. The film also featured his trademark taste of music, and in this case, his collaboration with David Byrne (and the Talking Heads, with whom Demme had made "Stop Making Sense"). This taste in music permeated into the rhythm of the movie itself, with the first part of the film definitely more upbeat and tropical, and the second part rockier and edgier. Demme would of course go on to do "Married to the Mob", "Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia", but this film stands as testament to the freshness of his vision, and a showcase of the talents of Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels. A great film worth exploring!