Something Wild (1986)

Viewed April 20th


Seemingly mild-mannered office worker is picked up by a free-spirited woman for a wild weekend.

Something Wild, directed by Jonathan Demme from a script by E. Max Frye, is dreamlike and wild. And it banks on that wildness to propel the viewer through its runtime. However, the lack of something non-wild in the character and narrative development ends up ultimately casting a somewhat tedious effect on the overall film. It's not tethered enough to reality for viewers to actually care that much. And the more we look at it, the more conservative it all seems. Melanie Griffith's character, in particular, is supposed to be free and complicated, but is never given the chance to be anything other than a white male fantasy in various guises. In fact, the film is actually at its heart representative of that most banal concept: by taking a chance, the conservative white male tames the girl, get the respect of non-whites (without having to interact with them directly) and triumphs over the rebellious alpha male. However, if you take the film as a dream, or as taking an interest in how dreams work, or how a banal white man's dreams work, then there might be something more to work with here. 

Perhaps the greatest asset of the film is as a snapshot into a particular worldview of funky 1980s New York culture. Cameos abound and the score is by John Cale and Laurie Anderson.