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The Wild Side

3.0 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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(May 16, 2000)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A daring double-life leads a beautiful young woman down a silken path of sex, scandal and greed in this steamy, provocative thriller. Bank exec by day - high priced call girl by night, Alex gets in deeper than she ever imagined when she meets charismatic millionaire Bruno Buckingham and his stunning, enigmatic wife. Now, in a slow, exquisite seduction, Alex will be pulled into Buckingham's perverse world of fast-cash and kinky thrills - and into an ever telescoping money-laundering scheme that will bring her face to face with pure corruption - and the very depths of desire. Anne Heche, Christopher Walken, Joan Chen

Amazon.com

Before Anne Heche came to prominence as the lover (and then ex-lover) of Ellen DeGeneres, she carved out a career as a sharp, intelligent actress, someone who could save a movie by appearing on the fringes, as in The Juror, for instance. Mixed in with supporting roles were a few indie leads--Wild Side is one of the latter, despite Heche's third billing. And a very strange item it is. Heche plays a banking go-getter who moonlights as a high-class call girl, with the movie hinting that the two professions may not be all that dissimilar. A liaison with a crooked financier (Christopher Walken in extremis) and later with his wife (Joan Chen) puts our heroine in a very confusing situation, especially when she gets in the way of a chauffeur/undercover cop/predator, played by Steven Bauer in high Eric Roberts mode. If the story is not always coherent, the actors nevertheless shoot off sparks, and the movie pulses with a weird energy all its own.

Wild Side was the last picture directed by Donald Cammell, whose 1970 film Performance (co-directed by Nicolas Roeg) is one of the defining films of its era. This cut of Wild Side is credited to the pseudonymous "Franklin Brauner" because Cammell was unhappy with the radical re-edit performed without his consent. A director's cut had been prepared, but Cammell did not live to see it. He committed suicide in 1996, leaving behind a very small output of films in his foreshortened career. Wild Side, even in its cut form, carries his signature traits of authentic disorientation and intense, twisted sex. And while it's a guaranteed perk for prurient viewers, the torrid coupling of Heche and Chen is just one equation in the film's convoluted sexual arithmetic. --Robert Horton


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Walken, Joan Chen, Steven Bauer, Anne Heche, Allen Garfield
  • Directors: Donald Cammell
  • Writers: Donald Cammell, China Kong
  • Producers: Andrew Pfeffer, Avi Lerner, Boaz Davidson, China Kong, Danny Dimbort
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Pioneer Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2000
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004STAJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,132 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wild Side" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Those of you hoping to track down the director's version of this film, don't get your hopes up with the "unrated" listing among the technical specifications. This is still the 95 minute R-rated rush-release, it just doesn't list it on the packaging. The director's cut (apparently available only in Region 2) runs 111 minutes.
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Format: DVD
How DISGUSTING that this film has been put out in its awful BUTCHERED version, the one Donald Cammell took his name off, just to capitalize on the recent big public Lesbian love-affair of Anne Heche and Ellen De Generais. This is the version that has been showing up on lists of the worst films ever made, BOMBS, etc., and needs to be thrown on the trash heap where it belongs. And if that weren't enough of a disgrace and insult to Cammell's artistic vision, the Full-Screen Only specification should clue you in to what kind of charlatans you're dealing with here. You should know for your own good that people are just trying to take your money and run when they offer only a full-screen version on a DVD!
Fortunately, through the efforts of some of Cammell's friends we now have the original version which should be put out on a good DVD as soon as possible. In fact, I just saw (at the American Cinemateque in Hollywood)a pristine print of that ORIGINAL DIRECTOR'S CUT, meticulously reconstructed by Frank Mazzolla, Cammell's editor, from detailed notes Cammell left right before he shot himself, and was COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY by it (no pun intended). I haven't laughed so hard and been thoroughly fascinated at the same time for a long, long time. The great, very long, leisurely paced and quite erotic Lesbian scene between Anne Heche and Joan Chen is maybe the least of the original film's virtues.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a terrible version of the film. The transfer is dull and faded, and the film itself has been cut down to 92 minutes from the 111 minute version. Don't waste your time or your money.
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By A Customer on February 27, 2004
Format: DVD
The only edition available on DVD is apparently the R-rated one which does not contain the hot scene with Heche and Chen.
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Format: DVD
This is just a rehash of the old Lion's Gate version that was cut beyond belief. If you really want to see this film there is an affordable "Director's Cut" available from Tartan Video in England and available from Amazon.UK. All you need is a DVD player that can play PAL (a surprising number of low-end DVD players will do the conversion). You can google your model and see if it will handle PAL broadcast format. You can order the Brit DVD here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wild-Side-DVD-Christopher-Walken/dp/B000050GOU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1247449628&sr=8-2

Just don't bother with any of the current US releases.
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By A Customer on April 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Overall, the story line and acting are not really that good. Hence the 3 star rating. BUT! , I give the lesbian romance 5 stars. Compared to other passionate love scenes in lesbian movies, such as in GIA, I haven't seen passion between two women portrayed as well as Anne Heche and Joan Chen did in The Wild Side. Their union was tastefully filmed and closely resembled lesbian sex. I am anxiously awaiting the 2000 release (The Wild Side-Director's Cut) which is reported to have a different love scene. All too often, lesbian love and sex is misrepresented by actresses who truly do not understand lesbian romance. It is a rare find when you can capture lesbian romance in its raw form. Other movies which do this effectively, regardless of the plot and acting, include, Bound, When Night is Falling, and Claire of the Moon, to name a few. If you rent or buy this film, I suggest you do it for the lesbian theme. I believe you'll find it quite stirring!
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Format: DVD
IMHO, this movie contains one of the most priceless moments ever graced the silver screen: Anne Heche is sitting on Christopher Walken's lap, who is trying to demonstrate to her how to seduce a woman, says -- with the straightest face possible, of course -- to her: "Imagine, I've got eyelashes, right?" Then the two just stare at each other.
I just couldn't stop laughing. It was so precious I felt for sure if this moment had a physical shape, it must be warm, furry, and very pettable!
Seriously though, this feels very much like a Christopher Walken kinda movie. It's just so odd, so off-beat, so eccentric -- just so weird! It at first makes you believe it actually has a serious plot: banker-by-day/callgirl-by-night Alex (Anne Heche) gets herself tangled in a web with a money launderer Bruno (Walken), falls in love with his wife Virginia (Joan Chen), while trying to outwit an undercover cop who's also a rapist. But then everything just starts to get weird. I can't quite explain it: the plot is not discarded (this is not a porn movie), but later it just feels like the plot is constructed to build up these "moments" for the viewers to savor. Such as one I described above; or an extended sequence where Bruno tries to get justice for Alex (one of the most outrageous events I have ever seen in a movie); or the "enigmatic" ending (one of those things where you go "hmm, that must have meant something -- but damned if I know!"). This is certainly not everybody's cup of tea, but if you like Christopher Walken and his style of stuff, this is just perfect.
But of course, the star of this movie is actually the gorgeous Anne Heche. Looking at her must make every straight man sigh -- what a tragic loss for mankind!
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