Dec 8, 2008

Wild Things


The femme fatale is a dying breed in today’s cinema world. One reason could be that Hollywood has cowered to the demands of feminists (and of course Hollywood is full of feminists) that lack a certain degree of much needed estrogen. Another reason could be that Hollywood prefers women to lack the manipulative genius of the femme fatale. Hollywood usually prefers beautiful women to be mindless whores that dye their hair bleach blonde to reek the benefits of a wall street investor that needs a trophy wife. Despite the lack of contemporary films featuring the much sought after femme fatale, Hollywood offers us one or two brilliant performances by sociopathic woman each decade. The 1998 film Wild Things features a new type of femme fatale that deserves to be seen.


The femme fatale made herself best known in the legendary low budget film noir films. Of course, Vamps have been around since the early years of the silent era. Also, one cannot forget about Louise Brooks' seductive performance in G.W. Pabst’s German masterpiece Pandora’s Box (1929). These films were aesthetically dark as the hearts of the female leads featured in them. The film Wild Things changes the darkness of the film featuring the femme fatale and sets it in sunny Florida. The setting of the film is beautiful from the get with an array of “wild things” such as carnivorous alligators and sexually decadent heiresses. Wild Things is easier on the eyes than most wild life nature documentaries.

Women aren’t the only ones to use their sexual talents to their advantage. In Wild Things, Matt Dillon plays a High school guidance counselor who is known as the man that has fucked every woman in town. Although Dillon’s character lacks the grace and charm that Montgomery Cliff displayed in The Heiress(1949), his character still can get what he wants from women to a certain degree. Kevin Bacon also plays a man that uses female style conspiring techniques to obtain a life of pure pleasure and fun in the sun. Let’s just say that Wild Things is a film full of Femme Fatales (and their male counterparts) battling it out to get as much as they can with their criminally minded scams.


It is a given that Wild Things is a film full of eroticism and controversial sexuality. I never thought that I would see Kevin Bacon videotaping two lesbians (Neve Campbell and Denise Richards) making out in a pool. Mr. Dillon and Mr. Bacon also have a moment in Wild Things that borders on the homoerotic. The femme fatale has always been a woman which seem to have certain lesbian inclinations. Therefore, it is not a surprise that the male equivalent would be treading through a similar swampy Florida water. Sexual perversion has always been a common trait of the criminally minded.

Wild Things was directed by Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer director John McNaughton. Like the masterpiece that is Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Wild Things features unintentional (or possibly intentional?) comedy throughout. Also like McNaughton’s realist serial killer romp, Wild Things has an atmospheric soundtrack that makes the viewer “comfortable” until the films conclusion. John McNaughton may not be the most technical or artistic of directors, but he knows how to put together a more than competent film.


Wild Things is a threesome of sadistic crime and erotic passion. I came into the film expecting a piece of typical Hollywood trash and was presented with a truly “thrilling” thriller. The cast played all their characters brilliantly and that includes Kevin Bacon (a man I have always had a certain superficial contempt towards). Going too in depth about the Wild Things storyline in this writing may spoil the many “wild” twists and turns throughout the film. This is a film that delivers what it advertises.


-Ty E

2 comments:

Keith said...

I totally agree. I love this film. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first saw it. I was pleasantly surprised.

thebonebreaker said...

Fantastic Review for a Fantastic Film!
[and while not nearly as good as the 1st, the two sequels actually are not that bad either]

Denise Richards ~ Hubba Hubba! :-)