Wild Side

Wild Side


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The restored version of Donald Cammell's swan song is so imaginative, so sensual, so impossibly daring, you feel the seat of your pants stiffen with anticipation. The colours have a depth that invites intimacy. Sex is sensual, even vicious. There is no time to compare with Bound, or The Last Seduction. Comparison is wasted. Cammell was a one-off.

The story is pulp, with soft porn pretensions. Anne Heche is a banker, who moonlights as a call girl. Christopher Walken is a money launderer, who plans to steal millions. Joan Chen is his almost-but-not-yet divorced wife, who is open to sexual experimentation. Steven Bauer is an undercover FBI agent, masquerading as Walken's chauffeur.

Copy picture

What matters more than the plot is the style. Walken pays Heche for sex. Heche desires sex with Chen. Bauer forces sex on Heche. Paranoia seeps through the skin, like sweat. All of them are trapped. All of them want out. And yet none of them can let go without taking what they came for.

The performances electrify. Heche has never been so physical nor Walken, in his silk dressing gown and dyed black wig, so perverse. Chen melts into the moment, like vanilla fudge, and Bauer plays the brute with sadistic pleasure. The movie's energy transforms film noir into an adrenaline rush. Trash fiction needs such treatment to avoid accusations of sleaze. It is what cinema is meant to do - disturb, stimulate and excite.

Reviewed on: 06 Apr 2001
Share this with others on...
Wild Side packshot
A banker who moonlights as a call girl gets caught up in the life of a moneylaunderer and his wife.
Amazon link

Director: Donald Cammell

Writer: China Kong, Donald Cammell

Starring: Christopher Walken, Anne Heche, Joan Chen, Steven Bauer, Allen Garfield, Adam Novack

Year: 1995

Runtime: 115 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


EIFF 1999

Search database:

If you like this, try:

The Last Seduction