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Askew Review 15

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THE LOVELESS (Blue Underground) 1982. Biker Flick. 82 Minutes. Unrated. Vance (Willem Dafoe) is the leader of a rag tag bunch of bikers who are on their way to Daytona.  Motorcycle trouble leaves them temporarily stranded in a small town off the beaten path and tension between the townies and the bikers lead to an explosive ending.
The Loveless is being touted as Willem Dafoe's first feature film and that's true with the exception of an uncredited part in Heaven’s Gate.  For true fans of Dafoe, this understated performance will be a definite change of pace from what we're used to from Willem.  Personally, I thought he was great as Gas in Existenz and he was the best part of Shadow of the Vampire.  In The Loveless, he gives us a portrait of a man who knows that he goes through life without affecting it.  He lives to ride and rides to live.  The film is full of cold, chrome imagery and long tracking shots that actually help enhance the narrative.  Kathryn Bigelow, who gave us the magnificent Near Dark, shows her stuff in this movie.  Her co author and co director Monty Montgomery is known more as a producer of David Lynch films so it's hard to say what his input was into the film as the style is definitely Bigelow's. And if that wasn't enough, the soundtrack is a rockabilly fan's dream come true.  With original music by Robert Gordon and John Lurie, the sounds propel us back to a more innocent era when even our hate was more straightforward and not shaded in various tones of gray.  So, combining the high brow attitude of the antagonists of the film and the hard rocking rockabilly score with the cool performance of Dafoe we get what has been called the thinking man's biker movie.  The DVD transfer is a little dark in places and the extras are a bit skimpy.  We get an audio commentary by Willem Dafoe, Kathryn Bigelow, and Monty Montgomery.  There is also a theatrical trailer and a poster/still gallery.  A definite plus addition to any Willem Dafoe fan or the biker genre as a whole. - Douglas A. Waltz



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