• José Luis Rivera Mendoza (jluis1984)30 June 2006
    8/10
    Another overlooked gem...
    Right after the success of his masterpiece, the dark comedy "El Dia De la Bestia", Spanish director Alex De la Iglesia took a stab at Hollywood with this wild ride of marvelous insanity and bizarre entertainment. Sadly, the resulting movie was severely cut in the U.S. and the U.K. and didn't had the expected results as many labeled as another Tarantino-style film. While at first sight "Perdita Durango" indeed looks like a rip off of the movies by the Tarantino-Rodriguez tandem, this really black comedy is more a witty satire than a serious action flick.

    The film is the story of Perdita Durango (Rosie Perez), a young criminal who one night meets Romeo Dolorosa (Javier Bardem), a crazed priest of an extreme form of Santeria who makes a life doing jobs for the mob. They fall in love and Perdita comes along in Romeo's latest job: the traffic of human fetuses for the cosmetic industry. On their trip, they kidnap two American teenagers for Romeo's human sacrifices. However, things go wrong as a DEA agent (James Gandolfini) follows them closely and the kidnapped teens try to escape.

    Based on Barry Gifford's novel of the same name, the movie follows the criminal couple's adventure in the style of a road trip movie with the two couples (the criminals and their victims) as main characters. I can't tell how faithful the movie is to the novel, but it is definitely closer to Gifford's previous film adaptation, David Lynch's "Wild at Heart" than to the Tarantino films that are often compared to it. The movie is charged with black humor and disturbing violence, and is a brilliant satire of modern society.

    Alex De la Iglesia crafts a film that is at the same time disturbing and funny, and he plays with those two very different emotions with very good results. The pacing of the movie is very good although it is true that at times it feels a bit disjointed. Still, De la Iglesia manages to tell an intelligent and different story than what we are used to. On a side note, the edited A-Pix version is missing what is probably the most important moment of the film due to copyright troubles, so to fully appreciate the film, the 125 version is the way to go.

    The acting is good for the most part, with Javier Bardem showing exactly why is he considered the best Spanish actor of his generation; his Romeo Delarosa is one of the best performances of his career. Rosie Perez is effective, but at times it feels as if she weren't up to the challenge, something that hurts the film badly, as she is the main character. Harley Cross and Aimee Graham are very believable as the kidnapped teens and show potential for comedy, but the real joy comes from supporting actors Gandolfini and a surprising Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

    Personally, I liked the film a lot and it is a personal favorite, but I must be fair and point out that it is not a perfect film. Alex De la Iglesia's main mistake is to focus too much on Romeo Delarosa's character, almost to the point where Rosie Perez almost becomes a supporting actress. The fact that Bardem's acting is enormously superior doesn't really help Perez' performance. On another point, the movie seems to lose steam at the last point, and while it does recover some of its initial power, the edited versions definitely take out this final improvement.

    As written above, this is a personal favorite, and while I wouldn't recommend it to everybody (due to its disturbing images), I would definitely recommend it to fans of black comedies, disturbing thrillers and overall bizarre film-making in general. 8/10
  • lambiepie-24 December 2002
    9/10
    A train wreck I couldn't help but watch over and over again!
    Warning: Spoilers
    This film is NOT for everyone. It is sexual, and very, very violent. In saying that, I watched this film in disbelief and now I can't stop watching it! It has everything: story, filming cheapness, lots and lots of blatant errors (you can see the filming!!) bt the actors don't care, they're acting and that's what makes this film fun.

    I loved everybody in this film, main or supporting character. This was the best work I've seen Rosie Perez in for quite sometime (and let me add, what a juicy roll for ANY actress to have!), this film made me a fan of Javier Bardem's and James Gandolfini ...and Screaming Jay Hawkins just made me crawl under the blankets. This film is wild, its shocking, its violent beyond words, its scary and had me cover my eyes more than once. It's a wild ride and for me, that is what makes it fun! There are things in this film I never thought I'd see or hear about in my lifetime and now that I have-- oh, my!!! (oh, those poor chickens!) But again, I loved this film because of ALL of those elements.

    If you rent or see this film on cable and think "Oh, this is one of those Hollywood violent films", boy are you in for a ride if you get to view the unrated, uncut version which to me, is the only way to see it.

    And as a personal side note, if anyone wants to see what makes an actor an actor, see Javier Bardem in this film first and immediately see him in "Before Night Falls". Now that's acting and all of Hollywood should take note.
  • EVOL66610 June 2006
    7/10
    Decent (But Disjointed) Violent "Road" Film...
    Warning: Spoilers
    Finally picked DANCE WITH THE DEVIL up after having seen it once or twice on Skinemax a few years back. I remembered it to be a pretty "odd" and violent film, and I was right. There are some problems with the pacing and storyline - but overall, fans of Tarantino-esquire material will probably dig this one.

    Rosie Perez plays Perdita Durango, a vicious fire-cracker of a woman who seemingly gets by from one con to the next. After she meets up with an equally (if not moreso...) deranged Santeria priest named Romeo - things really go to hell. Romeo is recruited to drive a truckload of frozen fetuses from Mexico to Vegas, and Perdita is along for the ride. Before the trip, the two decide to kidnap a couple of white-bread college students to sacrifice for good-luck. The rest of the film is a cluster-f!ck of Perdita, Romeo, and the two captives - and their "adventures" on the road - all the while being tailed by the Feds...

    DANCE WITH THE DEVIL is not a "perfect" film - as the plot seems to get lost in itself from time to time, and some scenarios and situations seem to be shown for no apparent reason - when the film could have been focusing more on the "action". There's a good bit of violence - and for the most part the film moves pretty quickly. It's hard to put my finger on it - it just feels disjointed at times and loses some of it's momentum towards the middle. Regardless - it's a pretty decent film with good performances and a pretty "out-there" storyline. James Gandolfini as the main Fed tailing them is a pleasure as always...7.5/10
  • dr.gonzo-417 March 2001
    a contemporary cult classic...
    I picked up DANCE WITH THE DEVIL at the local video store, basically because Rosie Perez was on the cover holding a double-barrel shotgun. Need I say more? Okay I will. Originally titled "Perdita Durango" after Rosie's character, this is one twisted, shocking, and absolutely fantastic film. Although a little on the low budget-side, it definitely makes up for it with a killer script and terrific performances from the entire cast. It was based on the novel by Barry Gifford who also co-wrote the screenplay. You might remember him from writing David Lynch's films WILD AT HEART and LOST HIGHWAY. Although Perdita is the main character of the film, there is little known about who she really is and what she is all about. Javier Bardem basically steals the show through his intense performance as Romeo, the devil with the rattlesnake boots. Of course we cannot forget James "Tony Soprano" Gandolfini who delivers a great role as a narcotics detective. Like some kind of twisted cross between NATURAL BORN KILLERS and DESPERADO, this film never lets up from start to finish. It's definitely a contemporary cult classic chock full of violence, sex, drugs, dark humor, voodoo, and......Hey I don't want to give it all away, just see it!!!
  • hippiedj16 October 2003
    10/10
    Vicious, wild ride of a film...even in its incomplete version
    (See the update at the end of this review about the uncut version now available in the U.S.)

    A-Pix Entertainment has given the U.S. the closest thing available to the complete version of PERDITA DURANGO, but viewers beware, the "Unrated Director's Cut" A-Pix boasts of the film (retitled for video as DANCE WITH THE DEVIL)is still cut!

    This version is a variant of the original Spanish edition but in English and Spanish. A-Pix still made 14 cuts for this "unrated" edition, basically removing any glimpses of Rosie Perez' breasts and backside, and removing any clips of TV shows and parts of the film Vera Cruz used within. No word if Ms. Perez didn't want folks to see her nude, but I'm sure A-Pix didn't want to deal with the legal rights for the use of clips from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Urotsukidoji II (from Manga), and clips from Vera Cruz (though some are still seen). One quick edit removes an implied scene of pedophilia. However, the longest cut of 40 seconds is near the end, of Romeo envisioning himself in a scene from Vera Cruz. . Steer clear of the R-rated edition for sure, as it has an additional 10 minutes of sex and violence omitted! For complete details of these cuts, refer to issue #60 of Video Watchdog magazine for an informative article on the video releases of DANCE WITH THE DEVIL.

    Despite the unfortunate cuts in the A-Pix "director's" version, PERDITA DURANGO is still a fun, very vicious wild ride! There are many, many uncomfortable scenes that are extremely brutal sexually as well as violently. The frenetic and over the top weirdness never lets up and it's obvious the creators of this gem offer no apologies for offending and messing with your senses. It's no wonder this has gained a cult following.

    Perdita is a very dangerous free spirit, and that trouble gets more serious when she meets witch doctor Romeo (Javier Bardem, who DOES get to show his backside several times). Together they kidnap a young couple to use in a sacrificial ceremony. Things definitely go awry, and the kids are taken along for the ride as Romeo is on his way to get a truck full of foetuses for illegal use for cosmetics and deliver them to Las Vegas. All the while a DEA agent played by James Gandolfini is on their trail despite constantly getting physically hurt!

    The story becomes quite complex, and in the 121 minutes of this version it never lets up -- there's either violence, sex, and plenty of cursing that all keeps the journey a constant, unpleasant experience, but in a GOOD unpleasant way! Be on the lookout for film director Alex Cox (REPO MAN) as agent Doyle, and Aimee Graham (sis of Heather) as one of the kidnap victims.

    Screamin' Jay Hawkins plays a voodoo man, and Don Stroud is particularly menacing with just a glance of the eyes. Rosie Perez plays it cool, but in a wink can turn psycho, just as Javier Bardem seems to be relishing his role with a lot of energy.

    I do recommend hunting down this "unrated director's cut" as at this time is the closest thing to the complete version we'll have here in the 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 of DANCE WITH THE DEVIL.

    UPDATE AUGUST 2015: The full uncut version is now available on DVD-R through allcluesnosolutions, but for how long is uncertain. I immediately took the opportunity to get a copy. It's just the film, no extras. But hey, for the full version I'll take what I can get!
  • ant-7810 November 2004
    Excellent dark-satire, violent-rom-com rampage
    Following the success of El Dia De Bestia and Accion mutante, once again the director pursues the nature of dark obsession. The two main leads are dysfunctional amoral sadists who re in some ways rediscovering a part of them that they miss - love.

    It's a story of trying to move on but the main characters are very amoral however there's darker circles than them, which pulls them further down the spiral. In essence this movie is an antithesis of a glamour Mafia movie and I believe represents Mafia dealings in a very dark fashion. In some ways I believe there's a nod to David Lynch with the actor playing the Mafia boss.

    The film is not a sick puppy nor is it banal. For those that have followed this director they will read between the lines to discover some salient points of US government intervention out of the states and human traffic - in this case embryos used for beauty products. Like 'clean Madrid' in El Dia de Bestia there were fascist movements in the capital at the time. Iglaisia puts this on the screen as a cultural reminder.

    Watching this movie at face value will seem very ultra violent and in some places extremely disturbing. Unlike other cult producers like Tarintino Iglasia uses a loot of cult cultural references to make his films extremely dark and funny (like La Communidad). If you're Latin or Spanish I feel there would be a lot more in this movie for you. Recommended viewing - but not for the faint hearted.
  • MisterWhiplash7 March 2008
    10/10
    one of the sickest, funniest B-movies of the 90s, which transcends any limitations through a truly wild sensibility
    Alex de la Iglesias seems to tap so well into Barry Gifford's material that he almost gives David Lynch, who's worked with the man twice (including on the script for near-masterpiece Lost Highway, also released in 1997), a run for his surrealistic-road-movie money. Perdita Durango, aka Dance with the Devil, is a firecracker of a thriller, loaded with so much (controlled) insanity, skillful and even artistically driven film-making, and a dynamite cast, that it threatens to burn off the screen and rape all of our children while it does Santeria in our living rooms. On the surface it's just a, well, crazy exploitation movie premise: two bad-asses, one a big dude with a Mexican mullet and a history of mystical ties to ritual dancing and sacrifices (Romeo), another a long-haired, curvy lover-cum-killer with a tough front and a jealous heart ( Perdita Durango) are on their way to bring a truck full of frozen embryos across the border, with a kidnapped "gringo" couple in tow.

    But within that surface there's a lot going on. Not that the film goes into the art-house sect like Wild at Heart, but it digs into the meat of 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, than the other infamous Bardem picture No Country for Old Men. At the drop of a hat a character can get run over by a car (sometimes, in the case of Gandolfini's hilariously hammy-pig DEA agent Woody Dumas, more than once), or a score that was scorned can come back to haunt another characters, or dancing out of some old tribal instinct in the middle of a club. It's an absurdist view of material that is on the one hand deranged and funny because of the random outrageousness of the violence, but on the other hand much more well-done because Iglesias doesn't stoop to poor craftsmanship. This is B-movie-making for people who like good, strong, lean direction that can take some detours that don't leave the audience too much in the dust.

    On second thought, that last point could be contested. I could imagine somebody watching Perdita Durango and not liking it at all, being just completely put off by the violence and (usually) sadistic host of characters, and how it doesn't seem to connect most times with a real sense of reality (as my friend pointed out watching it, early on the film seems to resemble a kind of film vomit, loaded with colors and scenes and bits thrown together). But it's a fair assessment. For those who know what they're getting, they need look no further than the cover, which has Perez &/or Bardem looking like they're right out of a pulp 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 the expectations for your usual road movie. And the cast is a huge part of this. Aside from Bardem's presence, there's also Perez, who is in one of her very best turns as the title character, as rough as an outlaw but vulnerable. And then there's Gandolfini, great supporting moments from Cox, Hawkins (yes, Screaming Jay), and even the kids playing the kidnapped gringos, making the most of an at-best two-dimensional playing field.

    The violence is savage, the theatrics go between over the top and startlingly convincing, and the sex is hot and dangerous as possible. Perdita Durango is so good you can smell the sweat pouring off the characters's heads.
  • NateManD22 July 2005
    10/10
    A Crazy and Violent follow up to Wild at Heart!
    "Wild at Heart" was originally a novel by Barry Gifford. Although "Perdita Durango is not directed by David Lynch and has Rosie Perez instead of Isabella Rosselini as Perdita; it's still one awesome road trip. The screenplay was written by Gifford and the film is directed by Alex de le Inglesia, the guy who gave you "Accion Mutante". Rosie Perez gives the performance of her career as ruthless bad girl "Perdita Durango". Her boyfriend Romeo (Javier Bardem) is a criminal and bank robber who's into black magic. He has to deliver a truck of baby fetus' to Las Vegas for his mob boss Santos. Both Perdita and Romeo are so deranged that they make Mickey and Mallory Knox of "Natural Born Killers" look like something out of a Disney movie. Perdita and Romeo kidnap a white virgin couple for his ritualistic sacrifice; the annoying but lovable couple Duane and Estelle. The film is very disturbing with its dark tone. You'll either be laughing one minute or cringing the next. Also look for James Gandalfini as Willie Dumas, a down on his luck sheriff. Perdita Durango is one crazy chaotic road trip of sex and violence. The US version is called "Dance with the Devil" and is trimmed by a couple minutes. Do yourself a favor and track down a copy of the uncut international version.
  • iaido30 January 2000
    Wild at Heart and Weird on Top
    Being a huge Barry Gifford fan, having enjoyed De La Iglesia's Day of the Beast, and of the opinion that Wild at Heart was one of the best novel to film adaptations in the history of cinema, needless to say, my expectations for this movie were very high. I couldnt have imagined it being so satisfying.

    De La Iglesia's adaptation of Perdita Durango takes its liberties but (like Wild At Heart) finds its inspiration in the original source material without destroying the spirit.

    Romeo and Perdita carve their way through the world with violence, magic, and sex. They are sadistic, perverse, and perfect for each other. From their first fateful meeting, to their kidnapping of two suburban white kids, to driving a truck full of fetus destined to be black market makeup, it is a dark destiny, a collision of two black souls. If the movie has any message, it is that even the most wicked person has a diabolic soulmate. Love does not discriminate.

    The performances are great. Javier Bardem as Romeo was totally unrecognizable as the same guy who played the stud in Jamon, Jamon. He plays Romeo as charming, self preserving, and almost noble killer because of his beliefs in darkness, sacrifice, revenge, and amoral spirituality. My fears of Rosie Perez, an actress I am not fond of in any way, were unfounded as she embodied Perdita perfectly with sadism and sizzle. James Gandolfini, as the Wile E Coyote like DEA agent Dumas, was also very good, perpetually abused and doggedly determined.

    De La Iglesia handles with the film with great skill. The pacing is fast and furious. Every scene is alive with energy, and his composition is masterful. He has vastly improved from the flawed, yet entertaining, Day of the Beast, and demonstrates that his is a talent that continues to grow. Given the proper material and time, I can see him providing a enjoyable body of manic, surreal, and outrageous work.
  • ma-cortes6 April 2014
    7/10
    Devilishly entertaining thriller in which a violent couple kidnaps two teens and all of them become involved into incredible situations
    A psychotic criminal called Romeo Dolorosa (Javier Bardem) is a dangerous exponent of the Vodoo-like cult , Santeria , he meets his match in femme-fatal Tex-Mex , Perdita Durango (Rosie Perez) . The couple nevertheless finds time along the way and abducts a random teenager duo named Duane (Harley Cross) and Estelle (Aimee Graham) for a forced march on the wild side . The woman rapes the male captive, and lets him watch his lover being raped by the man. They then plan to sacrifice the couple . The story kicks in when Romeo has to transport a lorryload of live foetuses across the border , being relentlessly pursued by a stubborn officer ,Willie 'Woody' Dumas , (James Gandolfini) .

    This hallucinatory weirdness is a full-on surreal action movie with a wild ride that blends thrills , a lot of fun , sleazeball local color , suspense , tension as well as an intriguing script full of underlying seriousness , horror , comedy and embarrassing situations . Packed with scenes of disagreeable nature , this fantasy-fuelled is exciting as well as frightening , as we follow the strange situations of a peculiar couple and a pair of teens whose destination is dictated by terrible events . The picture is rated ¨R¨ for its crude violence , grisly killings , lashings of sexual abandon , lots of nudism , gore and guts . The narration is so filled with quirk characters , crazy violence mixed with diabolic elements and an underlying sense of horror and gore , and it is so excessive and plenty of surprises, one can't help but keep watching, much as it is over the top in many an occasion . In the picture there is a marvelous homage by inter-cutting of footage from Robert Aldrich's excellent Mexican Western ¨Veracruz¨ and its main actor , Burt Lancaster . Overacting and excessive acting by Javier Bardem as Santero Romeo Dolorosa and nice acting by Rosie Perez as Tex-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 excessive gunpowder and a badly synchronized explosion caused by a special effects technician ; another crew member got second and third degree burns in 80% of his body . Very good support cast plenty of familiar faces such as Don Stroud as Santos , Demian Bichir as Catalina , Carlos Bardem -Javier's brother- as Reggie San Pedro , Screamin' Jay Hawkins as Adolfo , Santiago Segura as Shorty Dee and special mention to recently deceased the great James Gandolfini . Good cinematography by Flabio Martinez Labiano , excellent cameraman of ¨Non-stop , Unknown , Day of Beast , Time crimes , 800 bullets¨ , among others ; he's Alex De La Iglesia's usual photographer . Thrilling and stirring musical score by Simon Boswell .

    Spanish filmmaker Alex De La Iglesia tackles efficiently the further adventures of Perdita , being compellingly directed and it barely quickens the pulse , though 'Bigas Luna' was first slated to direct the film . When Bigas was due to direct the film, Madonna, Javier Bardem and Dennis Hopper were his first choices to play the main roles . Alex De La Iglesia is a cool director who has got much success as ¨Accion Mutante¨ ,¨Dying of laughter¨ or ¨Muertos De Risa¨ , ¨Baby's room¨ , ¨Oxford murders¨ , ¨Balada Triste De Una Trompeta¨ and this ¨Perdita Durango¨ is probably the weirdest Javier Bardem film ever made , being De La Iglesia's English-language debut shot in USA . And of course 'La Comunidad' obtained the unanimous praise of both the critics and the public and results to be a lot of fun, especially for those who enjoy surrealist humor , it won several Goya prizes and a turning point in his 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 not yet reached box office in USA, but he has strong followers , as his films have a kind of comic edge to them . In ¨Perdita Durango¨ there is nonsense, ridicule , violence , sex , absurdity , disturbing scenes and many other issues ; you can find everything in this flick . It captures the essence of the best Álex De La Iglesia, a filmmaker who, at this point in his own story, is respected and admired worldwide and has the most committed fans in the film universe . This is without a doubt a thrilling and enjoyable movie to be enjoyed for thriller buffs and Alex De Iglesia fans.
  • wolfy-29 October 1998
    8/10
    Despite Criticism
    Despite almost universal condemnation of this film by critics, I found this to be an absolutely fantastic ride of a film, Alex de la Iglesia's latest film after El dia dela Bestia,Perdita Durango showed what an immense talent that Iglesia is, ranging in styles from a thriller thru to a road movie this is a movie that HAS to be seen.

    With outstanding performances by all the lead characters this is a film that is able to transcend genres by the sheer audacity of the directors approach to the material, which is based (loosely) on a true story, yes all the characters are abhorrent but who cares this is not a film where you need to like the characters, it's more a film about where you like the two victims in the film are taken along for the ride, and you are not going to be freed until the end of the film.

    I personally cannot wait until Alex de la Iglesia's next film hits the cinemas.
  • Bogey Man16 April 2003
    6/10
    Ride through Inferno with Perdita Durango
    Álex de la Iglesia's Perdita Durango (1997) is an outrageously wild and violent road movie that has greater premise than the actual film. The film is based on the Barry Gifford book as was David Lynch's film Wild at Heart (1990), too, and the character Perdita is the lead character in Iglesia's film whereas she had only a small part in Lynch's much more noteworthy film.

    Perdita Durango (Rosie Perez) is an attractive and exotic Mexican girl with violent past and future, as we soon learn. She meets mysterious Romeo Dolorosa (Javier Bardem) who practises some strange and bloody voodoo/Satanism rituals and also needs human victims for his acts he performs for and with some cult. They team up, and start their violent journey near the border of Mexico and the USA in order to steal a huge truck carrying loads of human fetuses for some sleazy pedophiliac mafia boss. Yes it sounds very outrageous and once all the characters are introduced the level of wildness reaches its most breathtaking level.

    The film is pretty empty in content for sure, unlike David Lynch's film, for example. It has one quite funny bit of commentary about stupid mediocre TV audience that gets its meaning for life through various TV shows and commercialism related to it, and that is exactly the kind of humor that can be found in Iglesia's another outrageous (gore) comedy Acción Mutante (1993). But mostly Perdita Durango seems to concentrate on sudden and rather shocking bursts of violence and steamy sex that will definitely annoy censors throughout the world. There is a silent moment at the end which tells something about what is happening inside the character's head and what she has learnt but still it could have been a whole serious theme for the film. Also the way how the kidnapped couple change in their dangerous situation is quite repulsive as in that world it seems like the more selfish and mean you are the more you will succeed and survive. The young couple is not used as it should have been if Iglesia would have liked to include some serious and dramatic elements to the film and characters and thus make a more noteworthy piece of powerful film.

    The other characters are also very nasty and perverse, completely unable to control their violent and sexual instincts, but they are also quite blackly humorous (the mafia boss, the two FBI agents etc.) and so the tone of the film is not too serious at all. Most of the characters are just animals in the burning heat of the border trying to exploit and survive from each other. Romeo's character is definitely as wicked as they come but still he is far from the effect of Willem Dafoe in Lynch's film, where the character was the other side of human nature, whereas Igleasia never seems to be interested in depicting things so deep in this film. His characters are just bad, violent, miserable and selfish scumbags and there are not too many, or any, normal and safe feeling individuals in the film. The FBI caricature played by a film maker Alex Cox (Repo Man) is quite funny and makes fun on all the serious agent characters of the cinematic history.

    The film is far from the greatness of Iglesia's wonderful El Dia de la Bestia aka The Day of the Beast (1995) with its philosophic elements and incredible atmosphere with great visuality. Perdita hasn't got any genuinely interesting and inventive camerawork or cinematic magic and even the rites Romeo commits are not as chilling as in, for example, Wes Craven's Serpent and the Rainbow (1987). The soundtrack by Simon Boswell is mediocre, nothing too special in my opinion even though the director praises his work for this film and in general very much. He is a talented composer but his soundtrack for this film is not so memorable.

    I saw the most uncut (minus one 3 seconds image of the mafia boss slapping the face of a little girl, still this brief image is in the Spanish festival print) version released on DVD in Germany, and as far as I know, the Spanish tape is like this DVD, too. But all the other versions released, like the Hong Kong, UK, US, Swedish, Finnish and so on versions on VHS and DVD are severely cut for sex, violence and drug use. The "uncut" version I saw is quite strong at times and includes some scenes of extreme and vicious violence that are also more or less gratuitous to say the least, as well as the numerous sex scenes, but they definitely tell something about the brute instincts of the characters as mentioned. Overall the humor in this film is very black and just plain sick and that comes clear at least with the numerous car crash deaths in the film, so Iglesia is definitely not depicting his characters too heroic or lucky in their ways of life!

    Perdita Durango is not deep or meaningful film enough but the ending saves the film from even greater failure. Many will find this entertaining as it has graphic violence, "cool" characters, sex and other forbidden taboos on screen, but if one is looking for a film that has something to say and really concentrate on it so that we can call it a theme, then Perdita Durango is not among the best. Still it could have been so much worse, with bad and stupid actors and characters and boring segments: now it runs 124 PAL minutes but never really feels boring or too long so Iglesia's way to tell the story and cut all the unnecessary parts off is present here. He definitely is a talented director but manages to achieve more than 6/10, too.
  • cycarax10 November 2004
    1/10
    Good actors in a wretched excuse of a film - ditto
    Well done technically, well made, well acted, but an awful, awful, awful story. The scummiest, skankiest, nastiest, cruelest, vilest characters with not a sliver of redeeming likable quality are the heroes of this film. The violence and rape is graphic and I got the impression was being rubbed in the audience's face. These are people you wait for someone like Clint Eastwood, or El Mariachi to come and blow up, but no such person appears here, because these people are supposed to be the heroes - the ones we are supposed to cheer on. I felt more compassion for Hitler than these people. I liked Dr. Hannibal more than these people. Someone must have sat down and tried to think of all the worst characteristics you could create in human beings, with the worst possible circumstances in which they could be expressed. Ewwww.
  • Coventry26 March 2007
    4/10
    Not so Wild at Heart
    I own "Perdita Durango" on DVD since more than two years already, but always felt a little reluctant to watch it because, somehow, I feared it wouldn't be as overwhelming as it looks. I'm a big fan of Alex De La Iglesia's bizarrely experimental occult-horror gem "The Day of the Beast", but this is more like an attempt to cash-in on the contemporary popular trend of 'likeable criminals on the run' road movies, inspired by "Wild at Heart" and "Natural Born Killers". And, let's face it, De La Iglesia may be a creative and talented filmmaker, but he definitely isn't on par with big shots like David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino. And there you immediately have Perdita Durango's main problem… It tries to be exactly like the two aforementioned films and MORE, as our overactive director also wants to implement an extra subplot about the sadistic sacrificing rites of a religious cult led by one of the two main characters. The titular character, adequately played by Rosie Perez, is a tough and foul-mouthed little Mexican thug who hangs around airports on the boarder of Texas. She only gets sucked into the criminal underworld for real when she falls for Romeo Dolorosa. Romeo is the bloodthirsty and trigger-happy leader of the insane Santeria-church as well as an employee of the feared Mexican mob boss Santos. When he's hired to transport a truckload of frigid human fetuses for the cosmetic industry to Las Vegas, Perdita accompanies him and the happy couple even finds the time to kidnap two young teenagers to sexually abuse and humiliate along the way. Perdita Durango isn't really the main character, Romeo is! He's the one who always gets in trouble and has to face mighty enemies like malevolent mob creditors and unstoppable FBI-agents. Perdita's main occupation involves saving Romeo's butt when he once again messes up things! The script is incredibly incoherent and implausible, because it's just too hard to amalgamate plot elements like kidnapping, virgin sacrifice and mafia business deals. How are you supposed to take Romeo serious as a relentless criminal, when he also performs crazy voodoo dances around the fire and prays to Satan? Perdita Durango's reputation of being a cruel and extremely violent thriller is also very exaggerated. The film contains a handful of memorable shootouts and an occasional sadistic killing, but it's overall rather tame and politically correct. I particularly appreciated Alex De La Iglesia's "Day of the Beast" because it spawned an incredibly pleasant sense of black humor and morbid situations. This film hardly features any black humor, unless you consider James Gandolfini's cop-character repeatedly getting hit by cars as humor. His character is supposed to be an obsessive cop, but he's more like a crash-test-dummy. The film also is at least half an hour too long.
  • rosscinema8 April 2003
    1/10
    Good actors in a wretched excuse for a film
    Here we go with another Tarantino style of action film that has no heart and hates all of its characters. Or at least has no respect for any of them. Javier Bardem plays Romeo Dolorosa who is not only a criminal but one that is involved in voodoo and has to sacrifice someone before finishing a score. Rosie Perez is Perdita Durango and she's also a wild criminal sort who gets involved with Romeo. They kidnap two teenagers (Harley Cross and Aimee Graham) for the sacrifice and James Gandolfini is a DEA agent following all of them. After the success of "Pulp Fiction" a lot of independent filmmakers thought it would be easy to make ultra violent stories and call it art. This was a tough film to sit through as we watch one sick episode after another. Don Stroud plays some Mexican mob guy who is also a pedophile. Perez and Bardem both rape the teenagers. Characters are hit by cars and mutilated in fights and as I watched this I had to keep reminding myself that the people who made this offensive dreck try and convince us its all dark humor. I loved "Pulp Fiction" but it spawned so many mutant excuses for films. Really despicable. Another thing I noticed was that for all the ugly images their is one inconsistency that stood out. Perez plays a real wild tramp of a woman. But in her sex scenes she keeps her clothes on. You can't help but notice. On the other hand Aimee Graham is just like her sister Heather and has no problem baring her body. If their is any positive thing I saw it was Perez. She's always been a good actress and it appeared that she could have really shined in this role had the film been written better. The scene at the end of the film where she is crying was just a brief moment to remind us what she could have done with this role. I'm not easily offended and God knows I didn't take this film seriously but where do viewers draw the line? More important, where do filmmakers?
  • Captain Ed3 January 2002
    3/10
    Not too many redeeming qualities
    This movie at least has the edge on "Natural Born Killers" in coherence; otherwise, this is simply a hybrid between Stone's despicable movie and Tarantino's entertaining "From Dusk to Dawn". Rosie Perez is believable in her role, but the actor playing opposite her is really the focus -- which in my opinion is a mistake. The supporting characters are terrible, including James Gandolfini, whom I normally like. The worst are the two kidnap victims, who give simpering a bad name.

    Skip it. I had insomnia and STILL couldn't stay awake through this movie.
  • HumanoidOfFlesh13 June 2003
    Good stuff!
    "Perdita Durango"(1997)made by Alex de la Iglesia is a perfect mix of sex and violence.The film is well-made and interesting-the action is fast and there is plenty of nasty violence on display.The acting is very good-Rosie Perez shines as a rough Perdita and Javier Bardem is equally memorable as her companion Romeo.There are also some moments of black humour which make the film easier to watch.All in all I enjoyed "Perdita Durango" and you should too,if you're a fan of Iglesia's works.However I still think that "Accion Mutante" and "The Day of the Beast" are better movies.My rating:7/10.
  • sydneyswesternsuburbs8 August 2011
    10/10
    Classic South American Crime Flick
    Director and writer Alex de la Iglesia has created a gem in Perdita Durango.

    Starring Rosie Perez who has also been in other classic flicks, Pineapple Express 2008, The Take 2007 and Do the Right Thing 1989.

    Also starring Javier Bardem who has also been in another classic flick, No Country for Old Men 2007.

    Also starring Harley Cross who has also been in another classic flick, Cohen and Tate 1988.

    Also starring James Gandolfini who has also been in another classic flick, True Romance 1993.

    I enjoyed the sex and violence.

    If you enjoyed this as much as I did then check out other classic South American crime flicks, Amores perros 2000, Carlito's Way 1993, City of God 2002, Desperado 1995, El mariachi 1992, Machete 2010, Extreme Prejudice 1987, Scarface 1983 El Narco 2010, In the Blood 2014, Crossing Point 2016, Sicario 2015, Desierto 2015, And Soon the Darkness 2010 and Secuestro express 2005.
  • insomniac_rod14 March 2010
    8/10
    Shocker ride filled with bullets and sins!
    Warning: Spoilers
    "Perdita Durango" is one of those movies that you don't know a thing about it but you end up watching it because it gets your attention because of the crude of it's events and it's grind house look.

    I watched it on cable some years ago and after the end credits I couldn't believe I watched an Alex de la Iglesia movie and that the lead male character was none other than Javier Bardem! I felt like a fool for not recognizing them.

    Anyways, I watched it again some time after and the experience changed a little.

    I still thought the movie was very crude, violent, and held perfectly the black humor that is a characteristic often used by Alex de la Iglesia.

    But the backbone of the film is the great, violent acting by Javier Bardem and Rosie Pérez. Both deliver extraordinary displays of rage, desperation, self-control, sense of security, intelligence.

    I particularly enjoyed their "forced sex" sequence with the American teen couple. That was really high. The intensity, the way the blonde teens guilt each other for "enjoying it".

    The ending will leave you shocked. Watch "Perdita Durango" and expect a joyride of sex, drugs, violence, bullets, explosions, perversion, desire, and power.

    Eat your heart out, TJ traffickers.
  • Patricio11 March 1999
    7/10
    Great Alex de la Iglesia movie.
    As one Argentine critic said: "You love it or you hate it" -he rated the movie with an excellent-. I really love it and it´s because there aren´t so many movies such as this. Perdita Durango hasn´t a great plot, but this film really didn´t need it. It doesn´t matter if a scene has nothing to do with the plot, because this film doesn´t care about it. You have to be open-minded to watch it, with not so many expectatives about it, and you will like it very much. Remember that Perdita Durango wasn´t an expensive film. It has very hilarious parts, some gore ones (not so much), action, sex, deaths and some controversial themes and quotes. A nice bundle of things that I personally like in movies. The movie reminds me of some movies such as "Doom generation" and some parts of "From dawn till dusk".

    I rate Perdita Durango with a 7 out of 10.
  • Fedor Petrovic (fedor8)9 January 2007
    Do we need yet another "Natural Born Killers" clone?
    Warning: Spoilers
    A movie obviously molded after "Natural Born Killers" and "From Dusk Till Dawn". There was an attempt to give it the attitude of the former and the unpredictability, "comedy" (and kidnapping + "road-movieness") of the latter. However, "NBK" was done with flair and a superior visual style, plus it was surreal so most of its shortcomings could be forgiven. "FDTD" is much weaker than "NBK", but "PD" makes it seem like "Remains Of The Day".

    It's obvious from the first scenes that there is going to be mayhem and chaos. However, what wasn't to be expected at all was that the title character would almost completely change her personality in the second half; they started her off as a deranged, grinning psychopath with evil to spare, and by the end of the movie she was a sobbing wreck!!!? Her "gradual" progression from psycho-bitch-from-hell to woman-in-love is one of the worst (i.e. best) cases of bad characterization in movies that I've ever seen.

    It is clear from the start that while Bardem is a merry lunatic, she personifies evil, and is much worse than him. Anyhow, both of them are lunatics. At the outset. But later on, they actually even develop some sort of bond with the kidnapees; while Perez talks about love with Graham (albeit reluctantly), Cross confides to Bardem the way he would to his closest friend. Evidently, the goings-on concerning the kidnapees are meant as comic relief, but it's neither funny nor logical. It isn't logical how Perez and Bardem took the two kidnapees with them after being attacked and interrupted at the sacrificial ceremony. But this is an example of a forced plot-device; the scriptwriter decided that the kidnapees must fulfill their comic purpose throughout so he saw to it that they get dragged along by Perez and Bardem everywhere, when it made sense and when it didn't.

    The way Graham handles that situation with the gun is hopeless; instead of killing both kidnappers, she has a discussion with Perez, then hands the gun over to her! That was neither funny nor smart nor interesting nor anything; it was just plain idiotic. Generally, the behaviour of the kidnapees was totally absurd a lot of the time. And how about beating a joke to death? First a car hits Gandolfini and this may have been funny to some, but later the same gag is used on Graham's father. Dumb.

    Overall, I get the strong impression that this movie wasn't much more than a self-indulgence vehicle for the director and its male star.

    I'm sure this film has many fans, but then again why not? If John Woo, Gus van Sant, and Tom Cruise can have fans…
  • guyfromjerzee11 January 2005
    2/10
    Virtually unwatchable
    If you like movies that are filled with senseless violence and (literally) contain nothing else, then this may be your cup of tea. I'm surely no anti-violence advocate, but I don't believe in violence for violence's sake. "Dance with the Devil" is pure exploitation. Even outlaw characters can be at least slightly sympathetic. Not this time around. I found no redeeming qualities in Rosie Perez's and Javier Bardem's characters. It's hard to write a lengthy review about this movie, because there's almost nothing to write about. It's just a big dead zone of a movie. Perez and Bardem are both gifted actors, but they're given nothing to work with. James Gandolfini is the type of actor who can breathe life into any role, and he surely goes to town with his small, thankless part. I'll just close by saying that this is the kind of flick that actors cross off their resumes.
  • Brent Beebe7 February 2001
    Bonnie & Clyde on speed
    A criminal couple with psychopathic tendencies meet up in Mexico,

    then embark on an illegal embryo stealing operation. On the way,

    they kidnap a young couple with the intentions of using them for

    human sacrifice.

    Here's a film that could've been a real wild ride, but the director

    (who's proven he's got talent) decides to slam on the brakes way

    before the climax, producing a standard action finale with a little

    tragedy thrown in. Still, there's some good action sequences

    tossed into an interesting variation of the Bonnie & Clyde theme.

    The main problem for me was the lead actor. He never seemed to

    have a handle on the character. His criminal outbursts never

    melded with the more human side he was attempting to display.

    Perhaps a stronger actor would've been able to display a more

    nuanced character...or maybe it was just the character itself. But I

    lean more towards the actor...

    I'm a bit surprised how little screen time Rosie Perez had. I

    thought she was the female lead, but very little time was given to

    her back story or character arc. I sensed there was more we

    weren't privy too...perhaps there was some last minute editing?

    Finally, the chemistry between her and the lead was lacking.

    Again, a chance to give the story more depth was never realized.

    What remains is a quaint dark comedy/crime thriller that's a bit

    more than a nice time waster.
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