Urban Cinefile
"You ripped off my idea, you c***s"  -Priscilla writer/director Stephan Elliott to Steven Spielberg and team about the Spielberg produced film To Wong Foo.
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday, October 18, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

PERDITA DURANGO

SYNOPSIS:
Perdita Durango (Rosie Perez) is an unscrupulous young woman whose tough childhood has made her self confident and self sufficient. Love is not a word in her vocab, which is not to say sex isn’t. When Perdita hooks up with the abominable rogue, Romeo Dolorosa (Javier Bardem), it’s like creating a human molotov cocktail. They kidnap a well brought up young couple and begin a hell-raising ride, transporting a cargo of foetuses from the Mexican border to Las Vegas for a Mafia boss. On the way, they beat and seduce their captives, meet double agents, cops, obsessives, murderers, drug runners and others. Romeo’s membership of a black magic club offers them a chance to explore the darkest side of human nature, and despite the unlikely, life threatening journey, Perdita learns how to fall in love. She has met her match.

"Bold, brash, raunchy, overtly violent and explicit, Perdita Durango is a film of excesses and contrasts that will shock the uninitiated. Its themes of violence, rituals, human sacrifice and superstition are thrust on the screen audaciously, with characters colourful enough to jump straight out of a very nasty comic book. It’s gawdy, bloody with plenty of explicit sex, flesh and guts. Yet it is a striking, haunting work with hugely memorable characters, an explosive music soundtrack and confident, focused direction by Alex de la Iglesia, who also wrote the screenplay. The characters are wonderfully drawn – they are definite, not always likeable, but very real. And there are some extraordinary moments. The scenes in the car – with Perdita and Romeo in the front seat, and the kidnap victims in the back, are like two separate scenes shown simultaneously. There’s raucous debauchery in the front while bopping to Herb Alpert; behind is an observation in hysterical terror. Perdita and Romeo are larger-than-life characters, but they are wonderfully human, and both show their vulnerabilities in a moving and memorable way. In some ways, this film reminds me of Santa Sangre, whose disturbing, yet obsessive images remain strongly in the psyche. Six of the twelve critics at the media screening walked out; it is definitely not for everyone, and will offend many. But for the adventurous seeking a provocative, disturbing window, Perdita Durango delivers."
Louise Keller

"Romeo’s character is based on a real person called Constanza, who had a companion called Sara. The filmmakers say they spoke to some people who knew them, and what they were told "scared us stiff". So what you see in this film is tame by comparison, but if you shock easily, stay away. Humour, sex and action are the elements that writer and director de la Iglesia singles out that "with a degree of reticence" he wanted to make use of in this film. I had expected a story of a gutsy, irrepressible, flawed, life-loving, independent young woman; Perdita Durango goes way beyond these or any other white middle class definitions of a liberated woman. Right until the very end, the film wavers on the precipice of exploitation, looking for the strongest visual impact. Perez’ sultry good looks and Bardem’s almost-handsome features (often reminiscent of Antonio Banderas) add a faux glamour to the proceedings, which are not very glamourous at all. Quite nasty, in fact, and the film is perilously close to alienating even the most open minded audience. The pay-off doesn’t quite justify the tortuous journey, but as Louise says, it is a ride for the adventurous."
Andrew L. Urban

"It's wild, it's crazy, and it's a rollercoaster ride of sex, blood, extraordinary characters and a pulsating journey of unforgettable proportions. Perdita Durango is also the most audacious and exhilarating film of the year, the kind of no-nonsense pic that takes chances and gives the audience more than it ever bargained for. Under the fluid direction of Spanish filmmaker Alex de la Iglesia, this is a film that brings to the screen a pair of the most dazzling and hypnotic characters in years. In the title role, Rosie Perez delivers her best performance to date: sexy, powerful, chilling, emotionally resonant; this is the actress's finest hour and she delivers the goods. She's matched scene by scene by the powerful presence of Javier Bardem who has extraordinary presence as the chilling Romeo. Partly based on factual events, this Tarrantinoesque Bonnie and Clyde is a dark piece and not for everyone {even many critics walked out of press screenings}. Yet it's an inventive, daring film, visually stunning and exciting from the first frame to the last. Laced with a sardonic humour, Perdita Durango is relentlessly thrilling entertainment, going where few films dare venture. This is one terrific and energetic film."
Paul Fischer

Email this article

__________________

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

__________________

TRAILER

See Paul Fischer's interview with
JAVIER BARDEM

PERDITA DURANGO (R)
Spain/Mexico/US
Spanish and English with English subtitles

CAST: Rosie Perez, Javier Bardem, Aimee Graham, Harley Cross, James Gandolfini, Screamin’ J. Hawkins, Don Stroud, Carlos Bardem, Harry Porter, Santiago Segura

DIRECTOR: Alex de la Iglesia

PRODUCER: Andrés Vicente Gomez, Miguel Necoechea

SCRIPT: Alex de la Iglesia, David Treuba, Barry Gifford

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Flavio Martinez Labiano

EDITOR: Teresa Font

MUSIC: Simon Boswell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: José Luis Arrizabalaga y Biaffra, Arturo García

RUNNING TIME: 126 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: New Vision

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: October 1, 1998







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017