Monday, September 5, 2011

The Loveless

The Loveless
D: Kathryn Bigelow & Monty Montgomery (also co-writers)

Notable: First big role for Willem Dafoe, first feature by director Bigelow

Set in the late '50s, a gang of biker/greasers stops in a small town on their way to the races in Daytona, which of course leads to trouble.

While a little light on plot, the mood and atmosphere in this one is laid on with a trowel. The whole thing is a modern hipster's dream, and I find it hard to believe this hasn't garnered a big cult following (that I know of, anyway).
Told in a noir-ish flashback ("You never can tell on a day like this- things could be goin' jake one minute, then, presto --before you know it, you're history...), just out of jail Willem Dafoe and his gang of denim 'n' leather clad, switchblade wielding bikers --including neo-rockabilly singer Robert Gordon-- rendezvous in a small town on their way to the Daytona races. They rent garage space to work on the bikes, and take a short break before continuing on. Although they arouse some interest from the local women, the menfolk aren't exactly happy to have them there. "They're animals," says one. "Wish I could trade places with 'em for a day or two." The rest aren't even that kind, figuring them for goddamn commies. The violence in the air is finally manifest in the climax and somewhat existentialist ending.
Really, there's not much more to it than that. If you need a deeper plot than that you might not be satisfied here, but you do get some classic tunes ("Raunchy," "Rip It Up," Brenda Lee's "I Want to Be Wanted"...), great lines, a strip scene with some very nice naturals, great looking Harleys, classic Daytona footage, hoods being hoods (gunplay, playing "spreads" chicken with switchblades, etc), and more mood than any other movie you're likely to watch this week. The bikers look fucking great, with the creepy/cool Dafoe looking and acting like the exact point at which James Dean and Charlie Starkweather meet (If you've seen "Streets of Fire" from two years later, his character Raven is sort of an amplified version of this role). I also dig the probably local extra who looks like a real life version of Harry Dean Stanton. 3 stilettoes for this one.


  1. A "Streets of Fire" reference. Sue me, but I fucking love that flick. And hell, ya get the Blasters playing in a titty bar...

  2. Oh hell yeah. I even really liked that "I Can Dream about You" song... Wonder why Michael Pare was never the star they tried to make him.