Kathryn Bigelow made her feature film debut as a director with this stylish homage to the 1954 classic “The Wild One.” Trouble ensues when a motorcycle gang stops in a small southern town while heading to the races at Daytona.
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Debut feature by K. Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) has a strange, dark, detached quality reminiscent of a German New Wave Film. Dafoe's debut, too, and he's magnetic, in a creepy way. The rest of the cast seems to have been plucked from NYC's "No Wave" scene (Robert Gordon, Tina L'hotsky). Something like a blend of QUERELLE and THE WILD ONE...
This is a hypnotic, sexy, and incredibly harsh film that shows how so called decent society may not be so decent and the ones they call animals turn out to not be so bad after all compared to the hypocrites of society. Willem Dafoe really shines here as the brooding loner with a group.
Bigelow's debut is oddly abstract given the visceral films she will become renowned for; take one part B-Biker film, one part existential road trip, three parts Dafoe hunkiness. The time spent static makes this feel stilted, those open stretches of highway might have worked wonders. Something in the editing recalls Lynch's time in the Bang Bang Bar, but this never reaches that lucid lawlessness and sexual abandon.