Something Brief On Something Wild. A Filmic Anthem For Trump’s America.
I wasn’t planning on writing anything about Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild, that I wound up rewatching upon a whim late last night. It’s the director’s masterpiece, and a film that reminds us that America is a diverse, weird place. And and a film that reminds us that a quirky adventure can easily descend in to complete danger.
It’s a film about the abandonment of honesty. It’s filled with liars, with the film’s protagonist, Charlie (a never-better Jeff Daniels) the biggest one of all, but Melanie Griffith’s Lulu wears a wig and carries a name that isn’t her own. Ray Liotta’s Ray Sinclair is the only apparently truthful one in the lot; he embraces chaos, thrives on it, and doggedly pushes the notion that his is the only way. Where Charlie is anchored by his determination to tow the line, Ray is unhinged, and when the two meet world’s collide.
Somewhat famous for a mid-film gear-shift that changes the direction of the film entirely, Something Wild recognises and reflects the duelling ideologies at the centre of its being, and adapts to fit as and when necessary. This culminates in a shocking and disturbing finale, and a section of film that stands poles apart from that of the opening reel of the picture, but it’s all the more impressive for it, and all the more reflective of the curious homeland that spawned the picture.