Perdita Durango (1997)

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Perdita Durango: Directed by Álex de la Iglesia. With Rosie Perez, Javier Bardem, Harley Cross, Aimee Graham. A psychotic criminal couple kidnaps a random teenage couple. The woman rapes the male captive, and lets him watch his lover being raped by the man. They then plan to sacrifice the couple.

“Right after the success of his masterpiece, the dark comedy u0026quot;El Dia De la Bestiau0026quot;, Spanish director Alex De la Iglesia took a stab at Hollywood with this wild ride of marvelous insanity and bizarre entertainment. Sadly, the resulting movie was severely cut in the U.S. and the U.K. and didnu0026#39;t had the expected results as many labeled as another Tarantino-style film. While at first sight u0026quot;Perdita Durangou0026quot; indeed looks like a rip off of the movies by the Tarantino-Rodriguez tandem, this really black comedy is more a witty satire than a serious action flick.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe film is the story of Perdita Durango (Rosie Perez), a young criminal who one night meets Romeo Dolorosa (Javier Bardem), a crazed priest of an extreme form of Santeria who makes a life doing jobs for the mob. They fall in love and Perdita comes along in Romeou0026#39;s latest job: the traffic of human fetuses for the cosmetic industry. On their trip, they kidnap two American teenagers for Romeou0026#39;s human sacrifices. However, things go wrong as a DEA agent (James Gandolfini) follows them closely and the kidnapped teens try to escape.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eBased on Barry Giffordu0026#39;s novel of the same name, the movie follows the criminal coupleu0026#39;s adventure in the style of a road trip movie with the two couples (the criminals and their victims) as main characters. I canu0026#39;t tell how faithful the movie is to the novel, but it is definitely closer to Giffordu0026#39;s previous film adaptation, David Lynchu0026#39;s u0026quot;Wild at Heartu0026quot; than to the Tarantino films that are often compared to it. The movie is charged with black humor and disturbing violence, and is a brilliant satire of modern society.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAlex De la Iglesia crafts a film that is at the same time disturbing and funny, and he plays with those two very different emotions with very good results. The pacing of the movie is very good although it is true that at times it feels a bit disjointed. Still, De la Iglesia manages to tell an intelligent and different story than what we are used to. On a side note, the edited A-Pix version is missing what is probably the most important moment of the film due to copyright troubles, so to fully appreciate the film, the 125 version is the way to go.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe acting is good for the most part, with Javier Bardem showing exactly why is he considered the best Spanish actor of his generation; his Romeo Delarosa is one of the best performances of his career. Rosie Perez is effective, but at times it feels as if she werenu0026#39;t up to the challenge, something that hurts the film badly, as she is the main character. Harley Cross and Aimee Graham are very believable as the kidnapped teens and show potential for comedy, but the real joy comes from supporting actors Gandolfini and a surprising Screaminu0026#39; Jay Hawkins.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003ePersonally, I liked the film a lot and it is a personal favorite, but I must be fair and point out that it is not a perfect film. Alex De la Iglesiau0026#39;s main mistake is to focus too much on Romeo Delarosau0026#39;s character, almost to the point where Rosie Perez almost becomes a supporting actress. The fact that Bardemu0026#39;s acting is enormously superior doesnu0026#39;t really help Perezu0026#39; performance. On another point, the movie seems to lose steam at the last point, and while it does recover some of its initial power, the edited versions definitely take out this final improvement.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAs written above, this is a personal favorite, and while I wouldnu0026#39;t recommend it to everybody (due to its disturbing images), I would definitely recommend it to fans of black comedies, disturbing thrillers and overall bizarre film-making in general. 8/10”

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