Would be a good double feature with “Stranger Than Paradise.” Both have that slightly woozy, street dirty feel, as well as that feeling of people, of friendship and hanging around. This one is more personal though, more poignant. I feel I connect on some basic level with Van Sant. I felt the same thing with “My Own Private Idaho” that I felt with this, that odd sensation of home, or being away from it.
Mala Noche is a beautifully photographed, evocative tribute to guys just barely getting by in the gay and gritty Portland neighborhoods of the mid 80s. It's interesting how Gus Van Sant returns from time to time to movies set in dark corners of Portland for interesting little slice of life movies. He does it well and it's a valuable contribution to cinema.
High contrasted black & white, impossibility of love and sex, despair, beautiful mexican chicos, marginal characters, night trains, cheap hotels, neon lights, street walking, spanish music: Kerouac meets Louis Malle in a walk on the wild side. Not Van Sant's best but wonderfully full of heart and soul. An incontestable treasure of queer cinema. Tim Streeter, where have you been?
I LOVED Drugstore Cowboy, but I'm perplexed by the mystique surrounding Private Idaho, To Die For, Good Will Hunting and now Mala Noche. I did like Mala better than the others. Will I watch more Van Sant? Probably. Milk was very good and Elephant and Paranoid Park sound good, but I'm prepared for disappointment. Not sure why I keep coming back. Mala Noche kudos: Tim Streeter, B&W cinematography, the soundtrack.