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Perdita Durango
Dance with the Devil

Mexico/USA/Spain 1997
produced by
Andrés Vincente Gómez, Pablo Barbachano (executive), Fernando Bovaira (executive), Miguel Necoechea (executive), Max J. Rosenberg (executive) for Sogetel, Lolafilms, Mirador, Canal+, Sogepag, Imcine
directed by Álex de la Iglesia
starring Rosie Perez, Javier Bardem, Harley Cross, Aimee Graham, James Gandolfini, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Demián Bichir, Carlos Bardem, Santiago Segura, Harry Porter, Carlos Arau, Don Stroud, Alex Cox, Miguel Galván, Regina Orozco, Roger Cudney, Erika Carlsson, William G.Stamper, Gabriel Berthier, César Rodríguez, David Fillalpando, Forrie J.Smith, Paco Pharrez, Will 'Nahkohe' Stickland, Josefina Echánove, Miguel Iglesias, Dewey Kellogg, Marco Bacuzzi, Abel Woolrich, James Gooden, Emily Blanton, Maya Zapata, Vadira Zapata, Andaluz Russell, Salvador Gómez, Kenny Jacobs, Pam Risner, Cheli Godínez, Katie Barberi, Norman Stone, Gerardo Zepeda, Lazaro Paterson, Jessie Faller, Adelina Sinohui, Roberto Lopez, Paul Dapra, Craig Vincent, Steve Kennedy
screenplay by Barry Gifford, David Trueba, Álex de la Iglesia, Jorge Guerricaechevarría, based on the novel 59 Degrees and Raining: The Story of Perdita Durango by Barry Gifford, music by Simon Boswell, special effects by Jackson Burns, Danny Lester, visual effects by Jim Wheelock

Perdita Durango

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Immoral Perdita Durango (Rosie Perez) finds her match in the even more immoral Romeo Dolorosa (Javier Bardem), who is not only a crook with his hands in every crime imaginable, but also a high priest of some Latin American cult which uses corpses in its ceremonies. For Perdita and Romeo, it's love at first sight, and soon the two of them decide to sacrifice a living man during the next ceremony, and to this end they kidnap two teens, Duane (Harley Cross) and Estelle (Aimee Graham), whom they also rape so they won't die virgins. The ceremony though is interrupted by the police, and suddenly Perdita and Romeo find themselves with Duane and Estelle as hostages.

Romeo is soon hired by crime kingpin Santos (Don Stroud) to deliver a truckload full of fetuses to Las Vegas, but he and Perdita are still lumbered with the two teens they can't get themselves to kill for one reason or another, and a sleazy federal agent, Woody (James Gandolfini), is already on their trail. While on the road, it becomes more and more apparent that Romeo is walking into a trap set up by Santos, but he pushes on anyhow. Perdita realizes only too late that Romeo is going to die, and she rushes to his rescue, only to see him shot dead by his own cousin (Carlos Bardem). The police arrives shortly afterwards, but Perdita has no problems to escape - but her life without Romeo will be a sad one, especially in a town like Las Vegas, where everybody's supposed to be happy.

 

This sort-of sequel to David Lynch's Wild at Heart - though director Álex de la Iglesia fortunately never even tries to duplicate Lynch's style - is above all else a party movie: It has got violence, gore, sex, funny oneliners, is immoral as hell, and features a story that's easy to follow. Sure, on closer examination the story doesn't make too much sense, and sure, the characters are not exactly multi-layered, but the whole thing is beautifully shot, fast paced - and above everything else, so much fun.

In many ways it isn't, but in some ways, it is a great movie, and when you prepare to be entertained and not intellectually challenged, you open a can of beer and don't expect a genuine masterpiece, you will be properly entertained.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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