Reviewed byma-cortesVote: 7/10/10
A psychotic criminal called Romeo Dolorosa (Javier Bardem) is adangerous exponent of the Vodoo-like cult , Santeria , he meets hismatch in femme-fatal Tex-Mex , Perdita Durango (Rosie Perez) . Thecouple nevertheless finds time along the way and abducts a randomteenager duo named Duane (Harley Cross) and Estelle (Aimee Graham) fora forced march on the wild side . The woman rapes the male captive, andlets him watch his lover being raped by the man. They then plan tosacrifice the couple . The story kicks in when Romeo has to transport alorryload of live foetuses across the border , being relentlesslypursued by a stubborn officer ,Willie 'Woody' Dumas , (JamesGandolfini) .
This hallucinatory weirdness is a full-on surreal action movie with awild ride that blends thrills , a lot of fun , sleazeball local color ,suspense , tension as well as an intriguing script full of underlyingseriousness , horror , comedy and embarrassing situations . Packed withscenes of disagreeable nature , this fantasy-fuelled is exciting aswell as frightening , as we follow the strange situations of a peculiarcouple and a pair of teens whose destination is dictated by terribleevents . The picture is rated ¨R¨ for its crude violence , grislykillings , lashings of sexual abandon , lots of nudism , gore and guts. The narration is so filled with quirk characters , crazy violencemixed with diabolic elements and an underlying sense of horror and gore, and it is so excessive and plenty of surprises, one can't help butkeep watching, much as it is over the top in many an occasion . In thepicture there is a marvelous homage by inter-cutting of footage fromRobert Aldrich's excellent Mexican Western ¨Veracruz¨ and its mainactor , Burt Lancaster . Overacting and excessive acting by JavierBardem as Santero Romeo Dolorosa and nice acting by Rosie Perez asTex-Mex Perdita who was first incarnated by Isabella Rosselini at¨David Lynch's Wild and heart¨ also based in a novel by Barry Gifford .Javier Bardem and Carlos Bardem got badly burnt due to excessivegunpowder and a badly synchronized explosion caused by a specialeffects technician ; another crew member got second and third degreeburns in 80% of his body . Very good support cast plenty of familiarfaces such as Don Stroud as Santos , Demian Bichir as Catalina , CarlosBardem -Javier's brother- as Reggie San Pedro , Screamin' Jay Hawkinsas Adolfo , Santiago Segura as Shorty Dee and special mention torecently deceased the great James Gandolfini . Good cinematography byFlabio Martinez Labiano , excellent cameraman of ¨Non-stop , Unknown ,Day of Beast , Time crimes , 800 bullets¨ , among others ; he's Alex DeLa Iglesia's usual photographer . Thrilling and stirring musical scoreby Simon Boswell .
Spanish filmmaker Alex De La Iglesia tackles efficiently the furtheradventures of Perdita , being compellingly directed and it barelyquickens the pulse , though 'Bigas Luna' was first slated to direct thefilm . When Bigas was due to direct the film, Madonna, Javier Bardemand Dennis Hopper were his first choices to play the main roles . AlexDe La Iglesia is a cool director who has got much success as ¨AccionMutante¨ ,¨Dying of laughter¨ or ¨Muertos De Risa¨ , ¨Baby's room¨ ,¨Oxford murders¨ , ¨Balada Triste De Una Trompeta¨ and this ¨PerditaDurango¨ is probably the weirdest Javier Bardem film ever made , beingDe La Iglesia's English-language debut shot in USA . And of course 'LaComunidad' obtained the unanimous praise of both the critics and thepublic and results to be a lot of fun, especially for those who enjoysurrealist humor , it won several Goya prizes and a turning point inhis meteoric career ; from then on he became his own producer,beginning with '800 bullets' (2002) through the Pánico Films company .Winner of several Goyas (Spanish Oscars), however his movies have notyet reached box office in USA, but he has strong followers , as hisfilms have a kind of comic edge to them . In ¨Perdita Durango¨ there isnonsense, ridicule , violence , sex , absurdity , disturbing scenes andmany other issues ; you can find everything in this flick . It capturesthe essence of the best Álex De La Iglesia, a filmmaker who, at thispoint in his own story, is respected and admired worldwide and has themost committed fans in the film universe . This is without a doubt athrilling and enjoyable movie to be enjoyed for thriller buffs and AlexDe Iglesia fans.
Reviewed byhippiedjVote: 10/10/10
(See the update at the end of this review about the uncut version nowavailable in the U.S.)
A-Pix Entertainment has given the U.S. the closest thing available tothe complete version of PERDITA DURANGO, but viewers beware, the"Unrated Director's Cut" A-Pix boasts of the film (retitled for videoas DANCE WITH THE DEVIL)is still cut!
This version is a variant of the original Spanish edition but inEnglish and Spanish. A-Pix still made 14 cuts for this "unrated"edition, basically removing any glimpses of Rosie Perez' breasts andbackside, and removing any clips of TV shows and parts of the film VeraCruz used within. No word if Ms. Perez didn't want folks to see hernude, but I'm sure A-Pix didn't want to deal with the legal rights forthe use of clips from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Urotsukidoji II (fromManga), and clips from Vera Cruz (though some are still seen). Onequick edit removes an implied scene of pedophilia. However, the longestcut of 40 seconds is near the end, of Romeo envisioning himself in ascene from Vera Cruz. . Steer clear of the R-rated edition for sure, asit has an additional 10 minutes of sex and violence omitted! Forcomplete details of these cuts, refer to issue #60 of Video Watchdogmagazine for an informative article on the video releases of DANCE WITHTHE DEVIL.
Despite the unfortunate cuts in the A-Pix "director's" version, PERDITADURANGO is still a fun, very vicious wild ride! There are many, manyuncomfortable scenes that are extremely brutal sexually as well asviolently. The frenetic and over the top weirdness never lets up andit's obvious the creators of this gem offer no apologies for offendingand messing with your senses. It's no wonder this has gained a cultfollowing.
Perdita is a very dangerous free spirit, and that trouble gets moreserious when she meets witch doctor Romeo (Javier Bardem, who DOES getto show his backside several times). Together they kidnap a youngcouple to use in a sacrificial ceremony. Things definitely go awry, andthe kids are taken along for the ride as Romeo is on his way to get atruck full of foetuses for illegal use for cosmetics and deliver themto Las Vegas. All the while a DEA agent played by James Gandolfini ison their trail despite constantly getting physically hurt!
The story becomes quite complex, and in the 121 minutes of this versionit never lets up -- there's either violence, sex, and plenty of cursingthat all keeps the journey a constant, unpleasant experience, but in aGOOD unpleasant way! Be on the lookout for film director Alex Cox (REPOMAN) as agent Doyle, and Aimee Graham (sis of Heather) as one of thekidnap victims.
Screamin' Jay Hawkins plays a voodoo man, and Don Stroud isparticularly menacing with just a glance of the eyes. Rosie Perez playsit cool, but in a wink can turn psycho, just as Javier Bardem seems tobe relishing his role with a lot of energy.
I do recommend hunting down this "unrated director's cut" as at thistime is the closest thing to the complete version we'll have here inthe U.S. Maybe some day due to the cult reputation of PERDITA DURANGO,we'll get the definitive version with it's original title instead ofDANCE WITH THE DEVIL.
UPDATE AUGUST 2015: The full uncut version is now available on DVD-Rthrough allcluesnosolutions, but for how long is uncertain. Iimmediately took the opportunity to get a copy. It's just the film, noextras. But hey, for the full version I'll take what I can get!
Reviewed byMisterWhiplashVote: 10/10/10
Alex de la Iglesias seems to tap so well into Barry Gifford's materialthat he almost gives David Lynch, who's worked with the man twice(including on the script for near-masterpiece Lost Highway, alsoreleased in 1997), a run for his surrealistic-road-movie money. PerditaDurango, aka Dance with the Devil, is a firecracker of a thriller,loaded with so much (controlled) insanity, skillful and evenartistically driven film-making, and a dynamite cast, that it threatensto burn off the screen and rape all of our children while it doesSanteria in our living rooms. On the surface it's just a, well, crazyexploitation movie premise: two bad-asses, one a big dude with aMexican mullet and a history of mystical ties to ritual dancing andsacrifices (Romeo), another a long-haired, curvy lover-cum-killer witha tough front and a jealous heart ( Perdita Durango) are on their wayto bring a truck full of frozen embryos across the border, with akidnapped "gringo" couple in tow.
But within that surface there's a lot going on. Not that the film goesinto the art-house sect like Wild at Heart, but it digs into the meatof its premise and the danger at every turn for all of the characters.The hand of fate slips in probably just as much, if not more-so, thanthe other infamous Bardem picture No Country for Old Men. At the dropof a hat a character can get run over by a car (sometimes, in the caseof Gandolfini's hilariously hammy-pig DEA agent Woody Dumas, more thanonce), or a score that was scorned can come back to haunt anothercharacters, or dancing out of some old tribal instinct in the middle ofa club. It's an absurdist view of material that is on the one handderanged and funny because of the random outrageousness of theviolence, but on the other hand much more well-done because Iglesiasdoesn't stoop to poor craftsmanship. This is B-movie-making for peoplewho like good, strong, lean direction that can take some detours thatdon't leave the audience too much in the dust.
On second thought, that last point could be contested. I could imaginesomebody watching Perdita Durango and not liking it at all, being justcompletely put off by the violence and (usually) sadistic host ofcharacters, and how it doesn't seem to connect most times with a realsense of reality (as my friend pointed out watching it, early on thefilm seems to resemble a kind of film vomit, loaded with colors andscenes and bits thrown together). But it's a fair assessment. For thosewho know what they're getting, they need look no further than thecover, which has Perez &/or Bardem looking like they're right out of apulp fiction book, with her holding a gun and him with his crazed eyes.If you do give it a chance, however, it does provide more than theexpectations for your usual road movie. And the cast is a huge part ofthis. Aside from Bardem's presence, there's also Perez, who is in oneof her very best turns as the title character, as rough as an outlawbut vulnerable. And then there's Gandolfini, great supporting momentsfrom Cox, Hawkins (yes, Screaming Jay), and even the kids playing thekidnapped gringos, making the most of an at-best two-dimensionalplaying field.
The violence is savage, the theatrics go between over the top andstartlingly convincing, and the sex is hot and dangerous as possible.Perdita Durango is so good you can smell the sweat pouring off thecharacters's heads.
Rough girl Perdita and her demonic lover Romeo Dolorosa need humans to sacrifice following Romeo's religion before he can go on a mission ordered by mob boss Santos. They kidnap teen sweethearts Duane and Estelle and travel with them to Las-Vegas.