Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Willem Dafoe, J. Don Ferguson, Robert Gordon, Marin Kanter, Tina L'Hotsky
Directors: Kathryn Bigelow, Monty Montgomery
From the director of NEAR DARK and the producer of WILD AT HEART - First time ever on DVD! Willem Dafoe made his unforgettable movie debut as the leader of a ?50s biker gang lost in a world of black leather, bad girls and... more »
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"Well, I was born overheated. . . beneath a blue/black sky"
Cinephiliac | Los Angeles, CA | 06/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Loveless" marked the feature film debut for co-director/co-writer Kathryn Bigelow ("Near Dark," "Blue Steel"). The movie was actually Bigelow's graduate student film thesis--a stylized and downbeat little film with a neo-noirish undercurrent that showed enough promise to prompt a brief art house circuit theatrical release--after which it achieved a cult following overseas and, to a lesser degree, in the U.S.
Willem Dafoe exudes a surly raw sexuality in his first credited screen role as 'Vance,' a rough and tumble biker traveling the back roads of America with his gang during the 1950's. Vance establishes the duality of his character in the very first scene of the film: He is decent enough to come to the assistance of a lone woman driving along a deserted stretch of road by changing out her flat tire. However, when the woman offers Vance a grudging pittance for his time and trouble, he doesn't hesitate to reach through the car window, grab her purse and rifle through her wallet until he pulls out a more satisfactory sum. He then proceeds to plant a groping kiss on her as a bonus. How you react to this scene is probably a good indication of whether or not you will enjoy this movie. It is pretty over the top.
Vance and his motorcycle gang are on their way to Daytona Beach for the races when one of their motorcycles breaks down--forcing them to spend the day at a little out-of-the-way garage and cafe off U.S. Highway 17 until they complete the repairs. The locals are a mixture of the curious and the openly hostile. The movie tends to drift along rather aimlessly through the first two-thirds of the movie, and then it suddenly takes a rather dark turn, picking up momentum and interest after the introduction of a disturbingly pre-pubescent looking Sportster Debbie (Tina L'Hotsky), a wild child with an instant interest in Vance. Following close behind is Debbie's psychopathic and degenerate father, Tarver (J. Don Ferguson), precipitating a violent showdown with Vance and his gang.
The film was intentionally designed to look like a low budget 1970's biker film (a la Roger Corman), but it manages to transcend the genre. Dafoe does not always look completely comfortable in his first role. He does, however, demonstrate a real screen presence and visually commands whatever scene he is in. (Some of the other actors are not so lucky.)
Most of the sexuality in the film is implied rather than explicit (with two rather brief and slightly creepy sex scenes), and there is a surprising lack of profanity. The dialogue is rather stylized--with a great deal of period slang. Be advised, there is substantial "dead air" time (no one talking). Co-director Monty Montgomery wanted a Sergio Leone ("Once Upon a Time in the West") feel to the film--with the day drifting along in "real time." The camera often focuses on the scenery, watching the actors performing mundane tasks, and spends a lot of time on close-ups of the tattoos on the bikers' anatomy, wardrobe details and the period-authentic motorcycles. This is accompanied by a great deal of male posing and preening, giving the film a sensibility that is closer to Kenneth Anger's homoerotic "Scorpio Rising" than Marlon Brando's "The Wild One."
The cinematography and scorching soundtrack alone are worth the price of the DVD. The music features rockabilly icon Robert Gordon (who also has a small role in the film), John Lurie, and a brilliant but un-credited film score from Eddie Dixon. This is augmented by `50's standards from sultry Brenda Lee and Little Richard playing on the jukebox. (The title line of this review is taken from Gordon's opening credits song.)
Substance may take a back burner to this film's lush and gorgeous style with its `50's mixture of vintage motorcycles, black leather, ducktail haircuts, poodle skirts, roadside diners with Wurlitzer jukeboxes, ribbons of endless highway and, of course, bad boy bikers. "The Loveless" isn't just for gear heads and biker culture enthusiasts. The film had the odd effect of making me feel really nostalgic for a time I didn't live through.
Extras include a blended commentary track with Kathryn Bigelow, Willem Dafoe and Monty Montgomery; a gallery of still photos; the original posters for the film; the theatrical trailer and scene selection."
"we're goin nowhere...fast"
olofpalme63 | auf der flucht! | 03/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
What's so enticing about "The Loveless" isn't so much the story, well...there really isn't one. Just a bunch of biker's on their way to Daytona to "watch em howl". Or Robert Gordon's (who also co-stars) great rockabilly film score. It's Kathryn Bigelow's (Martin Scorsese-esque) direction that keeps you mesmerized throughout. Co-written and directed by Monty Montgomery (perhaps best known for producing David Lynch's "Wild At Heart"). "The Loveless" is an uncompromising look at late 50's social disorder starring Willem Dafoe and the sexy petite Marin Kanter. Although it could be argued that "The Loveless" parallels "The Wild One" to a certain degree, only...Willem Dafoe's character (Vance) seems a little more believable than Marlon Brando's campy over-the-top portrayal. Thus making "The Loveless" not only a cult classic, but an 80's drive-in sensation as well. A true biker masterpiece!
A Motorcycle Film with Realism, Exlpoitation and Objectifica
PristineAngie_dot_com | NYC | 04/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kathryn Bigelow (who went on to do a New Order video, Blue Steel and Strange Days) made this movie when studying in NYC as a film student. This movie truly captures many aspects of a interstate motorcycle run. There will be inevitable prejudism from the locals, especially men who feel threatened, and then there will be girls who think it's cool. There's a lot of waiting around to hook up with your group (or gang), it's dirty, and most accurately, Harley Davidsons are known to break down. (That's why so many people carry them on their pickup trucks).
Forget about Captain America and Easy Rider. That's the romantic notion that everyone seems to think of when they talk about motorcycle movies. Think Danny Lyon instead. I rode from NYC to California and back with a friend, and we get together every year or so to watch this movie and laugh at Wilem DaFoe's lines. We both agree that this movie really captures the less glamorous side of going cross country on our sleds.
You also have to have watched the exploitation flicks and Roughies of the 60s to grasp the oeuvre that Bigelow is going for. Though the actors look way better than your average hog biker, they don't quite act, they just "go" through the movie. Of course, with a cast like Rockabilly star Robert Gordon (whom I have seen perform in NYC at his height), DaFoe, and a motley cast of dirty bikers, you are guaranteed an unpolished performance.
Also the turning of the tables in sexual objectification is a welcomed change, as men get ogled by the camera lens throughout the movie, as the view linger leisurely on their body parts, wearing fetishtically tight motorocycle leather gear, refusing to budge...making us become aware of what mainstream cinema has been doing for so many decades to women."